Braden Wipperman is in his third year at Bondurant-Farrar Community High School, his 11th overall. He came from teaching band and chorus at Colfax for seven years.
As a band director for the high school, Wipperman puts in numerous hours with 62 students. He had 49 students his first year at Bondurant, and the program has definitely grown.
“I like my job and kids; it’s a good group,” he says. “They work hard and get things accomplished.”
Wipperman’s favorite type of band is concert band. He had never worked with marching band before and had to learn it when he came to Bondurant. He and his students brought home second place for the 3A Division at the Oct. 4 Marching Band Invitational at Urbandale. That season is drawing to a close, and Wipperman and his students will then shift their focus to concert band.
Wipperman feels like he teaches more than music; he teaches life skills.
“Musicians are good people, and I’m all about good people,” he says. “Twenty years down the road you can’t really go out and play football, but you can pick up a guitar and play music.”
Music has always been a part of Wipperman’s life. His mother plays the flute, and his brothers played as well. One of his brothers composed a song in high school. His wife plays the trumpet and French horn and plays at church. Their two kids seem interested in instruments when he brings them home.
“It’ll be interesting to see what they pick,” he says.
Wipperman had his “aha” moment when he was in high school leading the low brass sectional.
“I was in control, and they listened,” he says. “That’s when I knew what I needed to do.”
The most rewarding part of his job, Wipperman says, is when past students connect with him, let him know how much of an impact he has made on their life and that he made a difference.
“That’s what it’s about — educating people and making them good citizens of society and making them good people,” Wipperman says.
He says he would not be able to do what he does without the band parents.
“They are phenomenal, and I couldn’t do it without them,” he says.
Wipperman and his students have their winter concert coming up on Dec. 15 at the high school, along with the choir.