Peter J. McHugh
Class of 1964
Peter McHugh, CHS ’64, is a renaissance man. He is a scholar, has extensive musical background, and has award-winning business background in the high tech industry and extensive community involvement.
Peter’s diversified interests and extraordinary talent were on full display while at CHS. He was a member and Co-Captain of truly outstanding, record setting Spring Track and Cross-Country teams. Peter was very active in the Music Department, as a member of the Marching and Concert Bands (1st Chair Trumpet) as well as the Pit Orchestra for CHS Musicals. He was a member of the Drama Club, appearing in many plays and serving as its President in his senior year. He participated in the prestigious Northeast Music Festival for an unprecedented 3 times while at CHS and was the recipient of the Larkin Award Scholarship (CHS Band) as a senior.
While doing all of the above, Peter also managed to serve his classmates as a member of the Student Council, President of the Class as a sophomore and junior, and editor of the Yearbook as a senior.
He was an outstanding scholar as well—member of the National Honor Society and Class Salutatorian.
All of these outstanding and impressive accomplishments while at CHS provided a solid base for what was to come in Peter’s future. He went on to a very successful 4 years at Harvard College, graduating in 1968 with a BA in Biology & Chemistry. He continued his musical career as a member of the Football and Concert Bands, pit orchestra, and playing professionally in and around Boston. He wrote and won two National Science Foundation grants to study at New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center in the field of neurological science and at Harvard to study immuno-chemistry.
Following graduation, Peter taught for 3 years at Haverhill High School, then decided on a career change. He entered the business world in 1972, working in sales and marketing with New England Telephone, focusing on core networking and “end-user switching systems.” He developed a channel sales program that expanded sales of end-user telephone switching systems ten-fold. Plus the program was rolled out nationally. As VP of Sales and Marketing at Dynatech he directed world-wide sales for a startup business unit, which doubled its sales.
In 1995, Peter joined the EMC Corporation to lead a new business unit focusing on video platform technologies that laid the foundation for the infrastructure that led to what is known today as video streaming on the Internet!
Music has been a part of Peter’s life since childhood. He is the first of nine siblings and all played trumpet since elementary school, both professionally and for their own enjoyment.
Over the past 25 years, Peter as a member of the McHugh Family Brass have performed Christmas carols at the Christmas Tree-Lighting exercises on Town Common.
He and his siblings were involved with a fund-raiser talent show for the Byam Elementary School, performing as the “The Old Windbags” and performed some old Dixieland and Show Band arrangements. That led to 9 or 10 years of additional shows to benefit the schools. The OWB’s typically performed an act and played as the show’s “pit orchestra”. They often brought along professional colleagues to assist. It made for some fun nights for the kids and parents and generated financial support for Byam and South Row Schools, enabling some nice out-of-budget necessities for the students.
Peter also performed with the Lowell Summer Concert Band during the 1990’s under Prof. David Martins (UMass-Lowell) and Blair Bettencourt (Westford Academy). The LSCB performed a concert series each summer at Boardinghouse Park in Lowell.
As a member of the Chelmsford Community Band since 2010, which performs during the July 3 evening festivities and in the July 4th parade every year, he and his colleagues give several paid concerts throughout the year and provide a free summer concert series each year. The Band often invites talented young area musicians and vocalists to perform. As an active Board member, Peter was involved in finding paying gigs to help cover expenses, and in keeping the band running smoothly.
He joined the Nashoba Valley Community Band (NVCB) in 2013 after answering a call for help with a Veteran’s Day exercise; he never refuses the Veterans.
He is passing on his love of music and performance by teaching young aspiring trumpet and horn players, of which he says, “Working with the kids kind of ‘completes the circle’.”