When Brad Lampe, Clarke High School band director, first found out he had been named in School Band and Orchestra (SBO) magazine for 2013’s 50 Directors Who Make a Difference, it was actually through Facebook.
“A bunch of my band director friends on Facebook started to congratulate me … I looked online, and sure enough it was in there,” Lampe said.
Since the magazine was sent out during winter break, Lampe hadn’t seen the results since his edition was in his school mailbox.
SBO is a nationwide magazine published for band directors. Every year, the magazine publishes a section on 50 band directors who make a difference.
Nominations come into the magazine, and a list is compiled of band directors with one chosen from each state.
This year, Lampe was chosen to represent Iowa. He said he has no idea who originally nominated him for the honor.
“It just came, which is kind of cool,” Lampe said. “I don’t know. It wasn’t any of my family members or anything like that. So, I know it’s not too closely related to me. That’s kind of a neat recognition.”
According to Lampe, the honor also showcases the support Clarke gives to instrumental music.
“It’s a group effort. It’s not just mine,” he said. “I mean, the school has been really supportive of what we do.”
One of the reasons Lampe decided to become a band teacher is his own high-school experience.
In 1980, Lampe graduated from high school in Geneseo, Ill. When he first entered high school, Lampe was small in stature — just 4 feet, 10 inches.
Lampe said his high school was driven by a lot of athletic programs, especially football.
However, Lampe said he found his “niche” in band, and then expanded into other extracurricular activities.
“That’s kind of why I got into teaching in the first place,” Lampe said. “I love music, but I got into it because I had a great high-school experience when I was a high-school kid. Part of the reason I had such a great experience was through band and choir and drama and speech. That was my thing.”
In 1984, Lampe graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., with a bachelor’s degree in music education.
Lampe’s first job teaching was at a small school district called Shelby-Tennant. In 1987, Lampe became band director at Clarke.
In 1991, Lampe graduated from Drake University with a master’s degree in music education. His main instrument is the clarinet, and for his master’s recital he did a performance with it.
Now that Lampe is in his 30th year of teaching overall, there are many career achievements he has helped to accomplish.
When he first started teaching at Clarke, there were only 37 students in band. In Lampe’s magazine biography, it states there are now 102 instrumental-music students.
“I used that vehicle to help kids have a great experience in high school. I teach them how to be adults through music,” Lampe said. “That’s kind of my mantra — teach kids how to be adults through music or teach them character through music.”
Lampe is the current president of Iowa Bandmaster’s Association, which means he has to organize Iowa Bandmaster’s Convention in May at the downtown Marriott Hotel in Des Moines.
Out of 23 years, Clarke’s marching band has received 22 “I-superior” ratings at state marching contests.
When Clarke’s band did receive a “II” rating one year, Lampe said it reinforced the importance of teaching his students to work hard and not take anything for granted.
Lampe said he’s been offered other jobs throughout the years, however, it would be hard to leave a program he has helped to create.
“What we’ve created here at Clarke was something I’m proud of,” he said. “I worked hard to get this where it is — the new bandroom, the new auditorium, the level of musicianship, the performances — it’s all something that was created, and it’s kind of our little family.”