Four CD’s, four song EP’s, a live CD, two full length LP’s, and a tribute to Kenny Chesney are all accomplishments that Jim Bonick, a fourth grade teacher at Bibich Elementary school shares with his band mates in their band The Highway Band.
Bonick along with his older brother, John Bonick, and friend, David Varella, started the band when he was only fourteen. By the time he was a senior in High School they were playing at parties, clubs, and at their school senior banquet.
“We started playing in my parent's living room, and some of the kids in high school just said ‘We are going to have a party and have your band play’ then we moved on to clubs, then we started opening for bigger national bands.’” Bonick said.
Bonick started playing guitar after his grandfather, a folk guitar player, left him and his brother each a guitar after he had passed away. Bonicks brother began to learn to play and soon after decided he wanted to start a band which led Bonick to learn to play as well.
“The guitar that I got was a 1914, four string tenor guitar, so I really couldn’t use it, but I still have it to this day,” Bonick said.
Bonick has continued to be in the band even now as a teacher and incorporates the music side of his life into teaching.
“I use music for teaching figurative language, whether it’s for personification to similes or metaphors,” Bonick said.
Bonick uses his music to not only to enrich the classrooms learning experience but to bring the stories the class reads to life.
“When we read the book Because of Winn Dixie, in the movie Dave Matthews plays one of the characters. He plays guitar in the movie, so I have brought [a guitar] in and played the song that he plays in the movie and one of his songs,” Bonick said.
Not only has his students learned from his music but also the rest of the school. Bonick and the band helped teach storytelling and poetry.
“During young authors week a couple years ago, we came in and did a performance, it was more like a story tellers type thing. We talked to them about writing stories, and how we use them to write songs, and how that goes into poetry,” Bonick said.
After many years Bonick still strives to share his passion for music with others and continues to perform with the band. To see The Highway Band perform live check out dates on their website, www.thehighwayband.com.