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Band brings students, teachers together (video)

By chirst
Aug. 15, 2013 at 3:15 a.m.

Hall Pass, a student and teacher band, plays at the Rally Day Beginning of School assembly.

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

Goliad Independent School District's start date is Aug. 26.

GOLIAD - The lights were low as fog seeped across the stage and the drummer started to play.

Heavy bass echoed off the walls as "We want to rock" blasted through the auditorium and the crowd screamed.

It was a rock concert at Goliad High School.

The band members - two high school students, an economics teacher, the school's technology guru and the school band director - were playing for the teachers who had to come back to school.

Hall Pass, the student-teacher rock band, was started two years ago by Jason Howard, the high school band director and Neal Tolbert, the economics and government teacher.

"Watching the talent show year after year, I saw the kids have a lot of talent, and I thought, 'I like to play, and Mr. Tolbert plays. What if we threw something together with teachers and students and did something different?' The kids don't see us in that kind of role, and we wanted to do something fun," Howard explained.

Since the talent show in 2012, Hall Pass played for the first day of school for both students and teachers, Relay for Life and an education conference in Corpus Christi.

The band has a high turnover rate, Howard joked, as student members graduate and move on.

Jason Harvey, 17, a senior in the band, will leave for college in a year but said the band helps him relate to his teachers.

"I just know them better. ... Being a musician makes you have more things in common with other musicians. I know these guys a lot better, and they are fun to be around," Harvey said.

Howard said that relationship goes both ways, with the teachers learning more about the students. Having the band helps take some of the focus off standardized testing and means they focus on mentoring kids.

"It let's them see us as humans instead of, 'I'm the guy who stands up at the front of class and tells you to do your homework and asks why you were late.'" said Howard.

David Luna, the assistant technology director and the singer for the band, said he enjoys being able to interact with students and teachers, waving at each other in the hallways and sharing their love for music.

"I like that we are able to relate on this medium. ... This way, we can come together and play music. And you like it, and I like it, and we can come together," Luna said.

Emilio Vargas, Goliad superintendent of schools, said he has not seen anything like the band in his 20 years as an educator, and he was excited they were able to open the Rally Day Beginning of School assembly for Goliad teachers and staff Wednesday.

"I think it is an outstanding effort between students and staff to show our unity and our joy in being together and supporting one another," Vargas said.

Howard hopes to keep the band running as long as there are students to fill the spaces.

Harvey, though he is leaving at the end of the school year, plans to take his love for music with him and hopes to major in sound production.

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