International Whipper Station Featuring Mr. Sabbagh

International Whipper Station Featuring Mr. Sabbagh

Chloe C.

Someone once said if he wasn’t a music teacher right now he would be a “full-time dreamer.” That someone is Mr. Sabbagh, one of Uni’s most well-known teachers. He is in charge of the music department at Uni; this includes the Jazz Cats, Vocal Jazz, Choir, Guitar Cats, and Drumline, while holding many other responsibilities. He has been teaching at Uni for almost 26 years and has had a passion for music since he was 8 years old. He was mainly playing piano and drums when he was younger. Mr. Sabbagh said that the thing that inspired him to teach high school music was “punk teenagers” as well as feeling more connected to an older audience, rather than elementary or middle school students. 

In high school, music still followed him. Mr. Sabbagh did jazz ensemble, orchestra, musical theater, and show choir, and would make fun of the popular music that was out at the time. He said that the best high school experience was being surrounded by friends, appreciating sports, and doing arts and crafts. His favorite memory during high school was at a football game. “You know that big giant paper thing the team runs through as they run to the field that the cheerleaders hold?” he asked. His rock band ruined it by running through it before the football team. They were able to get away with it and never got caught successfully. During school, he was the class clown but teachers enjoyed it and looked forward to his clowning. He was a respectful class clown. Although he enjoyed his time in high school he thinks that high school now had changed from when he was a student because of the Internet and social media. Mr. Sabbagh believes he wouldn’t be as cool if he were in high school right now. He said, “I wouldn’t hang out with nosebleeds like you guys.” 

When Mr. Sabbagh was 15 years old, he created a band, the International Whipper Station. He found a sticker that said IWS which inspired him to add “international” to his band name. This is how his band name was created. He has been in a band for 37 years and still writes songs now, with his wife. Mr. Sabbagh can’t imagine his life without music. If he weren’t a music teacher right now he still would have pursued something in music. It is part of his whole life. His favorite artist is Frank Zappa, who was multitalented and could do everything. Mr. Sabbagh’s favorite song by Frank Zappa is “The Black Page.”

“You really haven’t had the full Uni experience if you don’t have my class.” You get a nickname or song sung to you every day. When I asked if there was anything else he wanted to add, Mr. Sabbagh said, “If you haven’t drank water from a garden hose, YOU SUCK, but if you have, you’re cool, you get it.” (Disclaimer: Don’t drink water from a garden hose because it can contain lead.)


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