In August 2019, Doug Schaffer “marched in and brought a program to life,” according to a band parent in one of his “40 Under 40” nomination letters. Schaffer recommended a three-week fine arts exploratory class where 6th graders can experience art and band so they can choose which fine arts class they want to continue. “Since implementing the class, our beginning band number shot up with 60% of them joining band,” he said.
Schaffer also started a junior high marching band to increase the retention rate from 8th grade to high school. “The band performs at two local and one away parade every year to give them a taste of high school. After the first year of the junior high band, we saw 100% retention,” Schaffer said.
Despite the pandemic, the district hosted the first Mark Twain Invitational Band Festival with 12 bands participating in a parade and a field show competition. “My kids showed incredible resiliency by still being able to put together a show and compete,” Schaffer said. “There were several schedule changes, as well as cancelled rehearsals, but the kids still brought their best to the festival, and honestly the whole season.”
On top of the remarkable growth of the music programs at both Mark Twain Junior High School and Mark Twain High School, Schaffer also designed the marching band and fall color guard uniforms. “I do the program coordinating for all of our shows, as well as all the drill and music arrangements. I really love putting together a product each year that is custom made for our group,” he said.
In one of his “40 Under 40” nomination letters, a former coworker wrote, “Mr. Schaffer’s enthusiasm is contagious. He is proud to be a Tiger, and we are proud to have him.”
Read about how Schaffer started the three-week fine arts exploratory class at Ralls County Elementary.