BALDWIN -- After an 11-year absence, longtime band director Dave Bass is back at Baldwin Community Schools with the goal of enhancing the school's music program.

"These kids deserve a good band," he said. "They deserve a director who cares about them. That's just how I feel."

Bass returned to Baldwin on Jan. 19, and has spent his time working to rebuild the program, which had not been updated during his long absence.

"We've got some really nice kids, but we've got to work on the fundamentals," he said.

To do this, Bass said he will be working with the students every day to help them be enthusiastic about practicing their instruments. Additionally, he said he will be bringing band directors from programs across the state to teach students about the importance of learning to play music.

"We're going to be working to reestablish this program, put it back where it was, working very diligently with these young people. That's what I'm going to do," he said.

Bass is getting students ready for their spring concert at the end of April.

For the concert, he said he does not have specific goals that he expects students to reach, rather he hopes to reinstate in students an interest in playing for an audience.

"It's a difficult task, but hopefully by their little bit of doing something good, they start to feel it, they start to hear it," he said.

Bass originally began working at Baldwin in 2001, but took a break in 2004 to pursue opportunities teaching kids in music programs across the state.

In 2007, Bass was asked to return to the school, but left again in 2009 to help assist directors at nearby school districts in repairing their programs.

"I've built and rebuilt programs for the past 54 years," he said, adding that he began his teaching career in the 1960s.

Bass said he continues to return to Baldwin because it holds a special place in his heart.

"I live in this community. I pay taxes in this community. Honest to God, I love Baldwin," he said.

A teacher for many years, Bass said while he plans on staying at Baldwin long enough to repair the program, he won't be able to stay as long as he would like to carry it out. Once he leaves, he said the school will be conducting a thorough search of candidates to ensure the new director cares about the students as much as he does.

"Those are tremendous young people. They're good human beings," Bass said. "Maybe you can't say that about everything, but every hour, I can say I have a great group of kids."