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High school soundtrack hits all the right notes

Kelloggsville — A couple of teachers and friends at Kelloggsville High School have paired up on three occasions to make music for their colleagues and students. 

And while it’s all a bit tongue in cheek, both musicians also say there are some lasting benefits to their collaboration.

The most recent gig was on Valentine’s Day, when Troy Anderson, an 18-year Kelloggsville band and music appreciation teacher, and Ryan Zuiderveen, a fifth-year economics, business and marketing teacher, got together to play not so much love songs, but songs that might mean something to those not so enamored with the holiday.

‘I think music is a simple way to bring people together, staff or students.

– Ryan Zuiderveen

The set list included:

  • Walk Away (Ben Harper)
  • Every Rose Has Its Thorn (Poison)
  • No Woman No Cry (Bob Marley)
  • I’m Not the Only One (Sam Smith)
  • Love Yourself (Justin Bieber)
  • Noviembre Sin Ti (Reik)

It was a reprise of their first shot at high-school stardom, which took place in February 2021 and featured the same sort of mix.

“Ryan came up with the idea of playing breakup songs in between every class all day in the hallway for Valentine’s Day 2021,” recalled Anderson, a drummer, pianist and trombonist. “It just sounded like a ton of fun, and it was very well received.”

So well received, in fact, that the duo teamed up to do a show on the last day of school in front of the building as students were leaving for the summer.

A Valentine’s Day gig at Kelloggsville High School by two of the school’s teachers (Ryan Zuiderveen, back, and Troy Anderson, foreground) included a retro poster by student Aaron Gravelin

Bieber Brought Clapping, Singing

This year, due to popular demand, Anderson and guitarist Zuiderveen were back for another V-Day performance, one that Zuiderveen said students really enjoyed.

“We had a good number clapping and singing by the end, which made my day, even if it was to a Justin Bieber song,” he said with a smile.

Zuiderveen also paid tribute to Aaron Gravelin, one of his business and Junior Achievement students, who created the poster for their most recent performance.

“He ran an apparel business this past fall, but it was clear he had an aptitude for the design side of things,” Zuiderveen said. “He is a go-getter. He used a photo that Troy and I had taken at one of our school shows last spring. We had decided to rock the facial hair, Troy better than I, and Aaron decided to match our stylings with a retro poster theme. He even edited a guitar into the photo.”

Away from the halls of Kelloggsville, Anderson and Zuiderveen are also members of a four-person cover band called The Khakis that plays around West Michigan.

But performing at their workplace is special for both.

“Last year was especially meaningful for us all because it was something fun during a year of uncertainty,” Anderson said. 

Zuiderveen agreed.

“I think music is a simple way to bring people together, staff or students,” he said. “But Troy and I always talk about the staying power of music. Many people our age have given up on athletic pursuits, but music is something that you can always make at any age. We love for students to see that firsthand, but our true motivation is just to make school more enjoyable.”

Explore more unique video stories of students learning, interesting school programs and educators working to help all children succeed.

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Phil de Haan
Phil de Haan covers East Grand Rapids and Kelloggsville and is the lead reporter for Grand Rapids. He hails from Exeter, Ontario (but has called Grand Rapids home since 1985) and is the son of a longtime public school teacher who taught both English and machine shop. Phil took both classes at South Huron District High School, but English stuck, and at Calvin College, where he met his wife, Sue, he majored in English and minored in journalism. His background includes both journalism and public relations, including teaching an advertising and PR course at the college level for almost a decade. In the summer of 2019, he began his own writing and communications business, de Haan Communications. In his spare time, Phil plays pick-up hockey and pickleball and tries to keep tabs on his two adult children. Read Phil's full bio

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