UNSUNG HERO: Elverado High School students form a band - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

UNSUNG HERO: Elverado High School students form a band

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ELKVILLE -- A Jackson County math teacher is using his musical skills to inspire school spirit and community pride.

Elverado High School no longer has a band program so a handful of students and one teacher created their own band that plays the National Anthem before some of the games. They may be small but they're passionate about music and their community.

The band plays the Star Spangled Banner for varsity basketball and volleyball games.

"It was a little nerve-wracking because in a smaller band you can hear individual sounds better, but I think we did a pretty good job." said senior Madelyn Asbury.  

This is the first year students have played since the music program was cut.

"It was devastating. It really was," said Madelyn.
The last time Madelyn played for her school district was in Junior High, but that all changed once she took John Blackburn's calculus class.

"We were sitting in math class and just talking about how we all played an instrument and Blackburn just said, let's get together," said Madelyn.

"I got the ones who I know are musically inclined and would know their instruments well enough where I can just piece us together," added Mr. Blackburn. 

Mr. Blackburn grew up with music part of the curriculum every year till graduation. He believes it plays a key role in enjoying high school, expressing pride in your community, and showing school spirit. 

"We've got all these things that are mandatory for the kids to learn. We just have to make sure there is time for the other." 

Now, he and a few of his students do it for fun but find it hard to get together for practice. The band is made up of a saxophone, cymbals, clarinet, flute, xylophone, and a trumpet played by Mr. Blackburn.    

"It's awesome that he would take the time out of his day to allow for us to showcase our talents and work on our musical abilities and skills," said Madelyn.   

Madelyn started playing the piano when she was five-years-old.

"It was really hard after we quit the music program for me to find time to actually sit down and play and practice because there wasn't any point cause I didn't have anything to do with it at school or anything," said Madelyn.  

Mr. Blackburn is not qualified to teach the students but he does encourage them to practice.

"Because of that, I think incoming students will get to witness what it's like to have a band, maybe in the future, maybe for a class in the future, at least there's something there. It only takes a spark." 

For Madelyn and the other students, that spark is now a flame.

"I've finally gotten back into playing piano because I found a love for music again," said Madelyn.

"If you've got the music in you, you have to spread it," added Mr. Blackburn. 

He said he hopes to see more kid and even alumni interested in lending their skills at the games, especially since four of his students are graduating. 

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