For the past 7 years, the band program at Mountainburg has been under the direction of Robert Kain. This past month, Kain was hired as an Assistant Band Director at Rogers High School. During his time at Mountainburg, the band program has grown incredibly. The Mountainburg Band Program is in good hands going forward.
Robert earned his Bachelor’s in Music Education from Connecticut State University in 2005. After graduating, Kain spent three years teaching at Killingly Intermediate School in Connecticut. In 2008, He started on his Master’s in Musical Performance at the University of Arkansas. He graduated in 2010 and moved to Colorado. There, he and his wife taught Elementary Music before moving back to Arkansas. It was not until 2012 when Kain started at Mountainburg.
When Robert started at Mountainburg, the band program had less than 10 people. For his first year, Kain focused on recruiting students to join the band and teaching the current students on how to be musicians. Kain stated, “The students at Mountainburg started to see my enthusiasm and excitement for band and that’s what I feel won them over.” Once the band started to grow, Kain had to find enough instruments for his students. The School District was able to purchase a few but a large donation came from the Alma Band Program. Over 20 previously-loved instruments were donated to the Mountainburg Band Program thanks to David Townsend and the Alma School District. In 2019, the band program had 60 students involved and was the largest student group on campus. Kain added, “The community has shown excitement for our sound and accomplishments – something that was lackluster previously.”
Robert is very proud of how hard the students at Mountainburg have worked and believed in the program. “It was tough in the beginning at assessments but it was necessary for growth in the program,” explained Kain. Eventually, the Band began to improve and achieve high marks at assessments and local invitationals. Kain said, “These students are all wonderful young men and women, who he will miss moving forward.”
When asked about some of his favorite moments at Mountainburg, Robert said his favorite concert piece to perform was Chorale from Jupiter. For his favorite marching show to perform, it was titled “From the Darkness to the Light.” The show featured for the opener, “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” by Fall Out Boy, followed by a symphonic piece called “By Dawn’s Early Light” by David Shaffer, and concluded with “Theme from Man of Steel” by Hanz Zimmer. “It gave the kids something they wanted mixed with something they needed mixed with something I wanted since I’m a comic book guy,” Kain explained.
Now for the part of the interview where we ask our ARVBands’ “Quick 5”.
What is your favorite High School marching show ever?
That would probably be the first show that I wrote. It was in 2007, I believe, and the theme was Dies Irae. It combined the famous chant with Symphony Fantastique with the Exorcist, the Red Cape Tango, and Verdi’s Requiem.
What is the best meal that you have ever eaten?
Probably a homemade lasagna. I have a killer recipe that has kind of ruined me for all other lasagnas!
What is your biggest pet peeve in teaching?
Grading for sure. I just want to teach and make great music without being pulled back into the grade book.
If you could pick another profession, what would it be?
What is your favorite memory from your music career?
Taking a novice band (Mountainburg) and teaching them enough to earn 1s and 2s at Concert Band Assessment. Their success on stage is my success as a teacher.
We wish Robert and his wife the best as they start their jobs in Northwest Arkansas. I know the Students at Mountainburg will miss you but are excited about your new journey.