Teacher in-service proves that steel drum music is ‘staff infectious’

Dave Winter

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Teacher in-service proves that steel drum music is ‘staff infectious’

Science teacher Elise Baughman and engineering teacher Audrea Moyers are all smiles as they work together to learn 'Oye Como Va' in Matt Ehlers' steel drums class on Tuesday.

Science teacher Elise Baughman and engineering teacher Audrea Moyers are all smiles as they work together to learn 'Oye Como Va' in Matt Ehlers' steel drums class on Tuesday.

Dave Winter

Science teacher Elise Baughman and engineering teacher Audrea Moyers are all smiles as they work together to learn 'Oye Como Va' in Matt Ehlers' steel drums class on Tuesday.

Dave Winter

Dave Winter

Science teacher Elise Baughman and engineering teacher Audrea Moyers are all smiles as they work together to learn 'Oye Como Va' in Matt Ehlers' steel drums class on Tuesday.

Ale Luera, Knight staff reporter

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During the “Teach Your Passion” in-service session at Mac last Tuesday, teachers gathered in the steel drums room to learn how to play the steel drums.

We had a teacher [steel drum] band here, and we were called Staff Infection. We even had T-shirts and stuff. We played ‘Bad Romance’ by Lady Gaga.”

— Percussion teacher Matt Ehlers

The group was given 60 minutes under the direction of percussion teacher Matt Ehlers to learn and perform the song “Oye Como Va” by Tito Puente.

“I was so proud,” art and commercial photography teacher Andrew Cooke said of the experience. “I made beautiful music, and it was probably the greatest thing I have ever done. What an experience.”

Despite only having an hour with the material, the group in Ehlers’ second session was able to perform the entire song without recognizable mistakes. Just before performing the complete song at the end of the session, the teachers picked a name for their group: Staff Infection.

The group of teachers in the first session chose the name, the Steely Knights.

The name, Staff Infection, is an homage to an actual faculty steel drum group that used to play together at Mac a long time ago.

Some of the members of the original Staff Infection, circa 2010, pose for a picture in their band T-shirts. Photo courtesy of Diana Adamson.

“We had a teacher [steel drum] band here, I don’t know how long ago,” Ehlers said, “and we were called Staff Infection. We even had T-shirts and stuff. We played ‘Bad Romance’ by Lady Gaga.”

I made beautiful music, and it was probably the greatest thing I have ever done. What an experience.”

— visual arts teacher Andrew Cooke

English teacher Diana Adamson fondly remembers being a member of the original Staff Infection, which Adamson remembered being formed around 2010.

According to Adamson, fellow faculty members Audrea Moyers, Linda Chapa,  Graham, Josie Rodriguez and Rhonda Moore were all members of the group.

“I feel like there were others,” Adamson said, “but those are the people in the photo I have. … We practiced once or twice a week, and we had one performance. I believe it was with the spring percussion recital.”

“We had some fun,” Ehlers said of the original Staff Infection.

So did the group that gathered in Ehlers’ room on Tuesday as this video footage confirms.

“I think this is my favorite day of the year,” said science teacher Sarah Noack, who participated in Ehlers’ second session. “I would 100 percent be in Staff Infection if Mr. Ehlers brought it back!!! So. Much. Fun.”