Jacob Campos, who has been described as a rising star in the band world, didn’t let the pandemic stop him from introducing his band program to elementary and middle school students. He created a drive-through Band Safari that allowed parents and students to see different “safari exhibits” — instrument sections with Franklin High School band members dressed in animal print clothing and playing tunes along the route. Prospective band students were introduced to each instrument in a unique and fun way.
Another drive-through event that Campos spearheaded was a Halloween event where the “elementary students from all of our cluster schools watched our students perform Halloween music while parents handed out candy,” he said. “We had a massive audience, so much so that we accidentally shut down traffice to our school for a mile and a half in both directions. We may have advertised our trick-or-treat event too well!”
When all performance opportunities were cancelled because of the coronavirus, Campos organized “march-a-thons” where his band students performed for the local community. “We took our marching program and turned it into a Macy’s Parade-like performance to take on the road to several of our neighborhoods,” he explained. “We met with city officials and HOAs (home owners associations) to plan safe, socially distanced events. We also stopped in front of several veterans’ homes to honor them by performing their military branch tunes.”
In one of Campos’ “40 Under 40” nomination letters, a colleague wrote, “Like finding a path through a maze, Jacob worked tirelessly to create a plan for rehearsals that would continue to develop the fundamental and pedagogic skills required for excellent student musicianship, while demonstrating great care for students’ social and emotional learning and their physical health in a global pandemic.”