Rock star dreams lead man to teach band at suburban middle school

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NILES, Ill. — As a young boy he wanted to be a rock star, but watching Eric Bachmann at work at Emerson Middle School in northwest suburban Niles, it’s pretty clear he’s living the dream.

He’s been teaching for more than 30 years in a career that started off with the drums and a dream of playing in a rock and roll band. But a music education class at Northwestern University changed his tune.

“I was born in Las Vegas so I grew up watching Liberace and Frank Sinatra,” Bachman said. “I got to see all that stuff so that energy and enthusiasm I got to see on a firsthand basis so it’s part of me. There’s no other way to do it when you’re dealing with 12, 13 14-year-olds if you are not showing your passion then you’re not doing what you need to do. … I can’t think of doing anything else. I get to play my music and get to pass on this to these kids it’s great.”

Award sponsor Ken Allen presented Bachmann with $1,000 — money he plans to use for an annual band trip to Great America next summer.

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