Klepp setting the tone for RCAPS band program

REED CITY — It doesn’t take very long for someone to notice the excitement Mike Klepp gets on his face when talking about his job.

As the new band instructor at Reed City Middle and High schools, Klepp has jumped into the position with one thing on his mind: to take the program even higher.

“This is a well-established program with many honors to its name,” the Western Michigan University graduate said. “My entire goal is to make a great program even better.”

Following graduation from Western, the Rochester native said he was like most of his fellow new teachers and graduates, as they all were searching for their first job.

“When you’re fresh out of college you apply everywhere you can,” he said. “I really had no idea where Reed City was when I started looking.”

However, a friend of Klepp’s began his teaching career at RCHS and mentioned the opening for the band instructor.

Taking his friend’s advice, Klepp applied for the position and then had an interview. In August, the district hired him.

“The position seemed the thing for me,” he said. “It is a good fit. It is exactly what I was looking to do. You work with students when they first get involved in sixth grade until they graduate. You get to see them grow and learn so much.”

RCAPS Superintendent Tim Webster said Klepp is a great addition to the district.

“He started in the summer and was off and going right from the start,” he said. “He’s off to a wonderful start here.”

Webster said Klepp brings an excitement to the position district officials were looking for when the position opened up.

“It’s exciting to have him here,” he said. “He’s dynamic and very excited about what he wants to do and what it will take for him to get there. He had some big shoes to fill and he’s right on track, getting to know the students, families and boosters.”

A little more than a month into the job, Klepp has been very busy with a schedule that included marching band, homecoming and other events.

“The biggest challenge has been getting to know the kids,” he said. “That first week, I was really seeing where they were and what they were able to do. They’ve been able to adapt very well.

“I’ve been trying to find out the levels they are, where they are at and what they’re able to play. I’ve picked pieces and they were difficult, and others weren’t very challenging at all. It’s all about finding that perfect place where they can play together as an ensemble.”

From his first day on the job, Klepp said he has been surprised by the atmosphere at the school.

“I was impressed on how great the staff is, I noticed that right from the start,” he said. “I’ve been very pleased to make friends with the staff from the beginning. It doesn’t seem like I’m a new teacher here or it’s my first year.

“I guess I feel a little spoiled here with a great staff, principal and superintendent. I’m definitely proud to be a Coyote.”

There’s little time for Klepp to relax, as the year is packed with band activities, from marching band, festivals and concerts.

“We’re trying to find out who will play and where, but before you know it, we’re going to be jumping right into festivals,” he said. “It’s all pretty exciting for me.”