A Capitol soldier didn’t want to abandon his flute pupils, so he taught on Zoom between shifts

18 January 2021, 15:51 | Updated: 19 January 2021, 14:47

Dr Jake Kohut teaches flute between National Guard shifts
Dr Jake Kohut teaches flute between National Guard shifts. Picture: Getty/ABC/Canterbury Woods/Twitter

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

This flute-playing soldier couldn’t let his class go without a music lesson during his time on guard at the US Capitol. So, he found a way...

Around 20,000 members of the National Guard are leaving their homes to protect the US Capitol in the lead-up to President elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on 20 January, following the riot earlier this month.

Among them is soldier Dr Jake Kohut, who also works as a primary school band teacher.

And while on guard, he couldn’t bring himself to abandon his young pupils from Canterbury Woods Elementary School in Annandale, Virginia.

So, between shifts, he took out his laptop – and trusty flute – and gave a virtual music lesson on Zoom, from his military truck.

Kohut’s school tweeted in celebration of his efforts, saying: “This is what a hero looks like. A member of the DC National Guard, our band teacher Dr. Jake Kohut has been working around the clock since Wednesday to protect our nation’s capital.

“And between shifts, he is dedicated to CWES students, teaching from DC.”

Read more: Biden inauguration music – full performance schedule revealed >

Kohut told Washington TV station WJLA he has been putting his students’ minds at ease with the situation going on in the capital city.

“I try to give an explanation ahead of time explaining what is going on and make sure they aren’t worried about us or me or anything like that,” he said.

The US Army followed up on Canterbury Woods’ tweet, saying they are “proud” of Kohut.

“His selfless service to his country and his students makes him truly remarkable,” they tweeted, adding: “Tell your students we said hi!”

A special security effort is being rolled out for the inauguration of the President-elect and Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris. The Washington Post has reported that dozens of groups, some claiming they will be armed, have applied to hold protests in Washington on the day.

Read more: A music teacher became homeless, so his pupils planned a beautiful surprise >

Among those praising Kohut’s double-duty work was flautist Susan Brandt, who posted on Facebook that amid school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, “like all my school music teacher friends, he is desperately trying to keep it all going”.

“We are afraid we will have kids drop out of the music program while it is all virtual and not playing together,” she added.

“So here he is, teaching in the Humvee while he has to be on active duty as a member of the DC National Guard, making sure our next President gets safely inaugurated, and making sure his kids keep learning those fingerings in their beginner classes on all the band instruments.”

Not all heroes… well, you know the rest. Bravo, Dr Jake, and thank you for the music.