BAY MINETTE, Alabama — Baldwin County High School students recently rocked out to a special concert as part of the Reach and Teach program which was founded on the principal of “authentic, student-led learning.”
This project gave BCHS students the opportunity to produce a live concert featuring the Velcro Pygmies.
The Reach and Teach program is a business marketing curriculum that carries students through every aspect of putting on a music concert. Students do everything from market research to promotion and ticket sales to selecting a venue for the concert. At the end of the program, the Velcro Pygmies perform a concert, free of charge, and the school keeps the money from ticket sales as a fundraiser.
The BCHS Marketing Education classes spearheaded this effort, under the guidance of teacher Jason Selph. He said Reach and Teach was great collaboration between his students and the band and an outstanding opportunity for the school.
“It starts with nine weeks of curriculum that culminates with the execution of an actual rock concert, complete with a light show, fog, and big 1980’s hair,” Selph said. “Students were involved with everything from the creation of a theme for the concert to the design of the promotion materials to the setup and execution of the concert itself.”
Student Jordan Calloway was tapped to serve as a show producer and got to work alongside the professional crew to set up and man the equipment. He admits when he first heard the idea of an in-school concert, he didn’t believe it was legitimate. “The closer it came to the date, I realized this is actually happening and made me super excited to even think about there being a live concert in my very own high school,” he said.
Plenty of advance work went into putting on a concert of this magnitude and students led that charge, Selph said. Students marketed the event, secured sponsorships and sold tickets in the school and community. Band members also visited with the students during class time to discuss plans and work out any kinks.
In the days leading up to the concert, students closed out ticket sales, helped set up the staging area, and then worked with the production crew on the final details. The concert day was filled with excitement as Callaway and his classmates worked behind the scenes to pull off an awesome concert experience for the community.
“I got to help with the production crew with the camera angles and finding the next perfect shot,” he said. “The last 45 minutes or so, they let me completely take over and I got to have that hands-on experience with producing the concert. Overall, this whole concert was an amazing experience and I’m super glad I got to be a part of it.”
The event also featured a surprise appearance from Adam Calvert and Page Hardwick from MTV’s “Taking the Stage.”
Selph had nothing but praise for the entire concept which provided students the opportunity for hands-on learning in a way that was engaging and fun. All that work concluded with a high-energy concert that could be enjoyed by the community.
“Reach and Teach gives the students real-life experiences that they would not get from very many other programs. Students were affected in different ways, but one thing is for sure, the ones that were involved, had life changing experiences,” Selph said, including student Greg Sims who got to play guitar with the band.
Concert sponsors included the City of Bay Minette, North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce, North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals, and South Shore Insurance Underwriters. For more information about the Reach and Teach program, visit reachandteach.rocks.