The Amazing 8 Under 18: Gabe McClain

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Gabe McClain loves band, and it shows when he is making music in Malone Hall.

The junior at Virginia High School told us he feels happier when he‘s in band class. It’s where he‘s surrounded by so many friends.

“It’s exciting to see how excited he gets. In the hallway, he asks if I‘m excited for band, or excited for pep band. He really loves it. It’s not just a class for him,” shared Ava Fink, a senior.

These young musicians have grown up, side by side, and song by song.

“He always greets us, every day, making sure we play the right notes. He says, Abby are you playing right?” senior Abby Kramer added.

Gabe has really grown. “I’ve been with Gabe since 8th grade. He was once shorter than me, and now he’s taller than me. He’s such a big addition to our class,” shared his band director, Daniel Melby.

Cam Stocke, who has played in the percussion section with Gabe since the 5th grade, told us, “He’s a friend to everybody. Always so happy and smiley. If you’re having a bad day, he’ll come up to you, and say, do you want to jam?"

When WDIO was there, Gabe was jamming on the bass drum. But he likes snare better. “Snare drum is my favorite. I play snare for parades," he told us.

On the autism spectrum, he absorbs music by ear, and by matching.

“Although he learns differently than the rest of us, he loves music just the same. And we all enjoy having him here,” Melby said.

Gabe has big plans for the end of the year. He wants a dance party during second semester in band class.

Sounds like another chance to make music, and make some memories.

“He’s the heart and soul. The bass drum keeps the rhythm, keeps everybody going,” Stocke added.

We’ll be featuring other amazing kids in the coming weeks.