Plato once said...music gives soul to the universe.
Wings to the mind.
Flight to the imagination.
But for one golden apple band teacher in the wabash valley.
Music is not just a passion.
It's his voice.
< in one < in one corner of richland county middle school in olney, illnois...you'll hear the sweet sounds of eric comb's band class.
To say it is "music to his ears" is an understatement.
In fact, music has become eric comb's voice.
A devotion that has shaped young minds in this small community for the last 14 years.
While most band directors aspire to move up...this music teacher chooses to stay at the bottom so to speak.
In fact, his love is "beginner band".
Knowing "he" was the one to introduce music into a child's life is what brings eric combs the most joy.
...you know everything you hear coming out of their instrument is something you taught them..
...he just is so passionate about what he does and you can just tell right when you walk in he has a love for it..he doesn't just teach it, he loves it.
Combs calls himself an academic.
He studies about beginner band as much as he can.
He travels around the country observing other band directors.
He's in school as early as 4 am...out past 5 pm.
All so he can help not only his "students"...but also first and second year "teachers".
He's put together several websites...teaching manuals...even wrote two books on band curriculum.
Free to teachers all over the world.
All to help make music a great experience for kids from the very beginning.
I know when i was a beginning teacher if i could have had a resource like that..i would have jumped all over it...so i figured why not be that for other people who need it... and he's made band accessible to every student at richland county middle school.
If a student in olney wants to play an instrument, but can't afford one....mr. combs gives them one.
He's worked hard to get several grants from the state of illinois worth thousands of dollars.
He bought 60 brand new instruments that he lends out..for free.
Combs says all he's ever wanted to do was to have a job in this very same room...passing along his passion.
...in the 6th grade when i was 11 years old my band director was standing on the podium and he said something to the affect of i'm gonna be retiring in about 15 years...one of you might have my job and as an 11 year old i remember distinctly thinking it's gonna be me!
From that very young age, eric combs felt a connection to music.
In fact he says he was often too shy to speak.
So he let his instrument do the talking for him through life.
...music is my instrument.
Music is my voice..
Today eric combs is the "instrument" in getting hundred of kids at richland county middle school interested in music.
A passion that has earned him a 2019 golden apple award.> tomorrow...we'll travel to clay county, indiana to present another