MINT HILL, NC – As the 2022 schoolyear comes to a close, Mint Hill’s own Independence High School continues to show the determination to do the best for its students. Part of that resilience is reflected in the passion displayed by Adam Collins, the school’s new band director.
A recent transplant from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Collins has been working diligently with the school community to reinvigorate the Independence band programs. “It’s really been a team effort,” Collins says humbly. “I’m the newest person in most rooms, so I’ve really been working with students, parents, other teachers and past band directors to drive the program forward. It’s not my program; it’s ours. I’m the chosen soloist for a chorus of voices.”
With the help of the Independence community, Collins has been getting his students interested in concert band and marching band again. “I really want to help the kids catch up from what they’ve missed the past two years during COVID,” Collins explains. “They had so much taken from them – especially in the realm of band and instrumentation. I hope to reinvigorate their enjoyment of music and their passion for the pursuit of excellence as a program. I mean, these kids that have stuck with the band through the pandemic – they’re some of the best kids I’ve ever had the privilege to teach.”
Collins says music can be a crucial subject for teaching foundational concepts that help create tenacity in other areas of life. “Music is the perfect synthesis of objective and subjective learning,” he says. “It engages a student both logically and emotionally at the same time. Each building block that’s established is then used to grow and reach success at the next level. That’s a skill that can translate across curriculums and throughout life.”
Collins says the main way the community hopes to achieve these building blocks is by bringing back the parental Independence Band Booster Club. “We have already begun the process of filing the paperwork to make the booster club a 501C3 nonprofit. I hope by bringing this fundraising back into the school, we will be able to give the students more opportunities. I want to bring in high quality musical literature. I want to introduce the kids to diverse music and composers. I want different ensembles to play at Carowinds,” Collins dreams, “Maybe even eventually we could take a band trip to another state to compete or see performances. I have a lot of goals and ideas.”
And Independence families have already begun to see some of these ideas come to fruition. Under Collins, the school has started a Jazz Band and has been able to safely bring back field trips like attending the Charlotte Symphony. “My favorite quote is from Benjamin Zander: ‘I have a definition of success . . . it’s very simple. It’s not about wealth and fame and power. It’s about how many shining eyes I have around me.’ That’s what an active Booster Club will do for my students and their families every day,” Collins smiles.
Collins believes all his goals are achievable with his newfound community in Mint Hill and Independence High School. “I have been blown away by my first year with Independence High and can’t wait to bring the band program back to its former glory,” Collins concludes.