Mike Whitley and Shelly New know how to rock.
Whitley, who teaches Criminal Justice, U.S. Government, and Law Enforcement Explorer Advisor, and New, who is one of the orchestra directors, are both in bands that perform throughout the area.
Whitley has been playing music and performing since he was in elementary school and currently plays for two different bands. He is a bassist in a rock band called, “Gypsy Blue”, and he plays guitar for a soul/R&B/jazz recording artist and singer, K. Avett.
“I have been doing it long enough that I think [music] is a little bit more than a hobby. It’s important enough to me to keep it at the forefront of my mind,” Whitley said.
New plays fiddle in “The Bodarks”. Their music is more classic pop or rock songs and they put their own twist on them.
“It’s a porch-stompin’, fiddle-sawin’, bass-spankin’ hootenanny,” according to their website, www.thebodarks.com.
New joined a band before starting her first teaching job. Fresh out of college, she hopped around from band to band until she found the right one. She has played music since she was four, starting with piano and then learning the violin at age seven.
Being a music teacher, her band helps her with her job each and every day.
“I think it’s great for the kids to see me performing because I think that’s an important part of what we do,” New said.
“A lot of my audience tends to be teachers that I have invited from school,” Whitley said.
Being in a band as a teacher is a great way to bring together two different arts. These teachers work hard to be sure they’re well-balanced and have a life outside the classroom.