After a decade of experience as a music teacher, Bradley Crowe has landed at Ketchikan High School.
Crowe's career has taken him to positions in both Oklahoma City and Japan, where he taught music on behalf of the United States Department of Defense Education Activity.
Crowe spoke to the Daily News on Monday about his choice to move to Ketchikan.
He recalled that while he and his wife were on their way from Japan to spend a summer in Oklahoma, they stopped for a visit in Anchorage.
The experience planted an idea in the couple's mind.
"When this spring rolled around, we saw that the Ketchikan High School band job was open and (we) were interested, so here we are," Crowe said.
Even during a school year that promises to be different due to COVID-19, Crowe and his family wanted to relocate to Ketchikan after researching the community.
"My wife and I have a passion for traveling and seeing the world, and Alaska really caught our attention, and as we read about Ketchikan and its community being full of arts and beautiful scenery and great hikes to go on, all of those things led us to wanting to go ahead and make the move to Ketchikan," Crowe explained.
Crowe, now settled in Ketchikan, said that he has been enjoying spending time with his family outdoors, going on hikes and doing home repairs.
As far as school, things are off to a smooth start for Crowe and his students.
"My band students are well-prepared and fun and love to make music together," he described the group.
Crowe teaches band for all grade levels at Kayhi.
Like many other classes and activities at the school, band has had to adapt to the new challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Crowe divided the students up into three separate bands; a woodwinds group, a brass group and a percussion and strings group.
The students practice in their separate band groups.
This allows for more social distancing between students, coupled with six-feet distance in the classroom.
"Believe it or not, we wear masks when we play," Crowe noted. "We create little slits in our masks and play our instruments through the slits."
The students' instruments also have been modified.
"We have brass bell covers for my brass players, (and) the woodwinds have bags that are nylon," Crowe explained.
Bell covers are caps for the end of an instrument that prevent airborne droplets from escaping through the instrument when a student plays.
The nylon bags are made from medical-grade material and also aid in keeping airborne particles from spreading.
"We also take at least a five minute break every class period to let the air clear out, and the H-VAC system kind of clears the air out," Crowe explained.
The Kayhi band students are still happy to be playing.
"So far, everyone has a positive attitude and a positive outlook," he said.
About Kayhi, Crowe has noticed that "student focus" is placed on different aspects of band here as compared with Oklahoma City, where he also taught high school band and music.
The Oklahoma City students devoted most of their musical energy to marching band.
In Ketchikan, Crowe has noticed the focus to be on jazz, pep and concert bands.