Jake Barnes began his music career as a toddler in a Halloween costume

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John DeStefano

Jake, four years old, happily wearing the costume his mother made for him at FHC’s Bandtasia

Most Halloween costumes are either frights or fantasies. For freshman Jake Barnes, however, it was his future.

When Jake was four years old, his mom hand-made him an FHC band uniform—this was a burst of nostalgia for his father, an FHC alumnus and band member. Both Jake’s mother and father had been musicians—his mom was a flute player, while his father primarily played the trumpet. Truly, it was no surprise that Jake was enthralled when he first laid eyes on Bantaisa, where his costume debuted.

“I always thought it was really cool,” Jake said. “I think part of the reason I wanted to join percussion was [that] I really liked the way all of the rhythms in the songs and the way they punctuated the melody.”

From the beginning, Jake knew that his passion for music would be rooted in percussion. After starting piano at the age of five, he was right on track to be a part of the drumline in high school.

Though music has flowed through the generations in Jake’s family, percussion helped Jake branch off and make his own impact since it is such a crucial and unique part of the band.

“I really liked making a beat, and I had played the piano for a while, so I was allowed to try out for percussion,” Jake said. “I like the different side of music that it represents and presents.”

I think part of the reason I wanted to join percussion was [that] I really liked the way all of the rhythms in the songs and the way they punctuated the melody.”

— Jake Barnes

However, this connection went unnoticed for quite a while, until Assistant Principal John DeStefano noticed that the little boy he saw in an FHC band uniform was in fact, a new member of the band at his very own high school and had pursued his dream.

As the former band director, it was an unforgettable moment for DeStefano to see a child at such a young age be passionate about band and pursue that dream ten years later.

“[The photo] was brought to my attention back when I was a band director ten years ago, and I thought ‘oh, this is pretty awesome,’ but never did I think that kid was going to end up in band,” DeStefano said. “For me, it’s really exciting that he was that excited about band at that time, and over these ten years, it’s been enough of a passion inside of him to want to be in the drumline.”

While Jake is skilled in drumline and with music in general, the playing of the instruments isn’t the only aspect that draws him into the band. The community is welcoming, and he has formed and solidified countless relationships.

Drumline especially has dedicated band members that can match Jake’s love to play. So, Jake fit right in among his fellow music-driven classmates.

“I like the community and how everyone supports each other,” Jake said. “Zero hour is really nice because I get to bond with the rest of the percussionists, make new friends, and do something I enjoy.”

DeStefano, despite not making the immediate connection between the young boy in the photo and the freshman in drumline, is glad to see that the FHC band is still bubbling with excitement years after he had to drift away from the drumline and the rest of the band. 

Watching Ranger Pride pass through familial bonds and through a love of music is not something that happens often, but is a spark of true inspiration and sentiment to many.

“It’s pretty cool,” DeStefano said. “It doesn’t happen that often that you see somebody like [four-year-old Jake], and then they end up going to the high school and being in the program. He’s a great kid and deserves to be recognized.”