Cory McBride is in his third year at East Buchanan Schools in Winthrop. The band director grew up in Independence and started at E.B. after college.
Also in his third year is choir director Than (short for Nathaniel) Chesher. After playing in a band and directing church choirs, Chesher went back to school to finish his education degree about four years ago.
Even though there's about a ten-year age difference between McBride and Chesher, they both have a passion for music and for teaching.
"We had an experience that was profound and we want to recreate for other people," said Than Chesher.
Sophomore Britta Fults is in choir with Chesher.
"He's one of the best instructors I've had for choir. He teaches it in a way we can all understand it and relate with," said Britta Fults.
She also plays percussion in the band led by McBride.
"He knows how to interpret the music to make it sound really good," said Fults.
In the fall, the marching band earned a division I rating (the highest score possible) at the state contest.
Recently, the music department was one of just 66 programs across the country awarded the "2013 SupportMusic Merit Award" from the NAMM Foundation. The award criteria focuses on financial and academic support by school officials and community support.
"I think the main thing people get out of it is we work hard," said Than Chesher.
Cory McBride works with students in 5th through 12th grade and than Chesher has students in 6th through 12th. They both hope students gain music appreciation and knowledge.
"From taking the notes on the page and just playing notes in front of them and really starting to internalize what music means to them and taking ownership for their continuation to group," said Cory McBride.
The small school wants to continue to grow its music department and excel in competitions.
"The programs are coming along really well, and what I'm hearing from people is we're sounding the best we have in years," said Britta Fults.