NEIGHBORS : Juilliard-Bound : Bassoonist Chad Alexander has been accepted to the prestigious music school.


Chad Alexander and his bassoon have been accepted to the Juilliard School of Music for the performing arts.

After an unsuccessful audition three years ago, the 22-year-old Thousand Oaks High School graduate recently passed on his second attempt and will begin classes in September.

Alexander has been playing the bassoon since he made the jump from clarinet back in junior high school.

It was a move, he said, that surprised his young classmates. "They were really mystified as to why I was switching to such a weird and exotic instrument. It looked funny and it sounded funny."

And the music wasn't all that great either.

"The music written for bassoon at the junior high level was more oom-pah-pah," Alexander said, "whereas my friends in the clarinet section got all the lyrics."

So why exactly did Alexander seek out the bassoon?

"My mom used to play horn in the Ventura Symphony and her best friend was the bassoonist," he said. "We'd go to concerts and afterward we'd go to the friend's house.

She had a bassoon leaning against the wall.

Every time we'd go there I'd end up playing it, or at least I thought I was playing it."

Good luck to Ojai's Bill Olivas. The wrestler-turned-deacon at St. Thomas Aquinas Church today begins his last week of secular life. On Aug. 28 Olivas will take his first vows to the Augustinian brotherhood.

Olivas will be giving up a lot of things, but he said he is having no second thoughts.

"I'm not nervous. I'm very joyful, very happy," he said. "Now the only thing is that I hope the Lord gives me enough years--you know, I'm 70--to kind of enjoy and serve in my capacity to the order."

Rio Mesa High School student Kari Moffat had planned to do some serious fund-raising this summer. That is, until a car in which she was riding collided with a truck.

Kari needed to raise $1,200 to go to Washington, D.C., for the 1992 Congressional Youth Leadership Conference.

She was selected to attend the program--a firsthand look at the federal government--based on her academic achievement.

Her goal was to raise the funds by the end of August. But on May 19 Kari's plans changed dramatically.

"We were at 5th and Pleasant Valley. My friend turned left and a truck kept coming through the green light," she said. "My head went through the side window and the seat belt broke my back. I had internal injuries too. I had to learn how to walk again and to sit and to stand."

Kari is doing all of those things once again--she even had a small part in a Camarillo Community Theater production of "Oklahoma"--but time for fund-raising is running out.

She plans to hold a garage sale or two, but could use some financial assistance to meet her Aug. 31 deadline. If you would like to help out call 482-4433.

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