Teachers participate in steel band for winter concert

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The winter concert is an annual tradition, bringing Christmas spirt before the holidays. The in-school winter concert was Dec. 19, kicking off the winter break. It featured performances by chamber choir, wind ensemble, orchestra, and a teacher steel drum band.

This year is the second year that teachers have started to participate in the concert alongside the students. The band practiced Wednesdays after school for four weeks, and some teachers even practiced during enrichment to make sure they were prepared for the performance.

Because of the high participation from the teachers, two bands were created. Just like dance they switched bands for the two concerts. With different teachers performing for the different concerts. Which is what they did last year too.

Janet Sovich is the director of the steel band. She sent out an email and asked if any of the teachers were interested and thirty teachers responded.

History teachers Nicole Maffei and Jamie Higgins Shaull were in the band for the second year. Some of the other teachers that were in the band this year was Michelle Stauchura, Jennifer Houseknecht, Mary Holmead, Shellie Powers, Cynthia Sabo, Megan Hamilton, John Foster, and David Sobel.

Sovich wanted to include teachers in the performance because she knew they would love it just as much as the students do.

“All the teachers always enjoy it when they hear it so I thought it would be fun for them to get to play,” Sovich said.

The song that the teachers played was Sweet Caroline.

“Teachers are more resistant to try something new sometimes but they [did] a great job,” Sovich said. “These teachers [were] brave they [were] taking a chance [that was] risky for them, and for that I am very proud of them.”

“It makes me [very happy] to see not just my students enjoying the steel drums but also my teacher friends. It is one of the highlights of my entire year to get to make music with my peers and laugh and smile with them,” Sovich said.

History Teacher, Nicole Maffei had never played any instrument before joining this band. She loved playing with the teachers and getting to know the students that were helping teach. She wanted to play in the steel band because she knew it would be so much fun and that’s why she continued doing it the second year. Maffei is on an instrument called the double seconds.

“It’s a fun role reversal,” said Maffei.

Having the teachers learn from the students is an interesting switch of roles. The students get to become the teachers and the teachers have a lot of fun becoming the students.

The students in the steel band that train all the teachers were very helpful and even wrote the notes on the plans for them.  They were very patient and didn’t judge any of the teachers because they knew that the they were just learning.

“I wanted to do something I’ve never done before, so I jumped at the opportunity to play last year. My husband and I got married in Key West and had a steel drummer play at our wedding,” Higgins Shaull said. She played the pan in the steel band.

“I was always jealous of people who played instruments,” Higgins Shaull said.

She loved learning from the students and playing with the other teachers. Higgins Shaull said that last year was even more fun because it was a surprise to many of the students since they didn’t know teachers were performing anything.

The students and teachers got to experience what it is like to perform for the school. The teachers had so much fun that they want to continue participating every year to keep the tradition alive.