The Rodgers Middle School Band is hard at work preparing for the upcoming Music Performance Assessment (MPA). Shown here is the band with Dana Burt helping to prepare them for the MPA.

The Rodgers Middle School Band is led by Christopher Shultz, a teacher who has started and turned around several area bands in Hillsborough County over the last 24 years. He has led multiple bands and individuals to great success, including all-states, all-counties and Music Performance Assessments (MPA).

Shultz came to Rodgers Middle School, located in Riverview, in the summer of 2018. At the time, there were nine band members. Currently, it has 160 band members. Additionally, Rodgers Middle School has its first all-state band member, 12 all-county band members and is about to go to an MPA and hopefully earn its first Superior in 20 years.

Shultz said, “Students should have an outlet for their leisure time that is a positive influence. The Rodgers band is creating that and more. The band is giving these young people a positive identity, a focus that they can move over to other aspects of their lives such as academics and it is developing competitiveness that is allowing them to grow skills that they will need in their adult lives.”

Shultz added, “They are very hard workers and want to succeed. This discipline projects to the community in many ways. Academically, the band kids tend to lead the school in academic success. They are well behaved, rarely get in trouble and set an example in the school and the community. They are recognized as members of this fine group and will take those skills with them into the community.”

Shultz has been able to have the kind of success he has had over the years because he develops relationships with the students.

Band member Austin West said, “I joined band because it was fun. I have had the opportunity to make new friends, participate in things such as All-State and All-County Band and play some really great music.”

Students spend a lot of time developing their skills, and as a result they have developed an outstanding band.

Shultz said, “The Rodgers Band rehearses daily in sections as the brass has its own class, the woodwinds have their own class and the percussion has their own class. The entire band gets together a few times before each concert to put the music together and develop a full symphonic band.”

The Rodgers Band will play with the Riverview High School Band for a spring concert on Tuesday, May 3 at Riverview High School.

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