Celebrating Two Decades of Music and Family with In The Pocket

Story by Michael Meyer // Photography by Leslie King

During the 1997–1998 school year, a few curious and talented Upper School students who knew about Upper School physics teacher Dr. Herb Lamb’s life before Durham Academy asked him if he’d like to jam with them. Dr. Lamb grew up surrounded by the blues of the Mississippi Delta, was a self-taught piano and bass player, and had spent a number of years as a club musician.

Dr. Lamb was happy to oblige, and he and the students put together a few songs. Over the next few years, the group of students changed, ebbed and flowed, but the jam sessions continued, even producing a few informal performances along the way.

In the 2002–2003 school year, a larger group of students upped the ante, staging their own headlining concert with Lamb in Kenan Auditorium along with some of his musician friends from the community and assisted by the Upper School music teacher at the time, Dominic LaCasse. The following year, Office of Information Technology Director Trevor Hoyt and I joined in the fun, we gave ourselves a name, actually printed up a program for the spring show, and In The Pocket was officially established in the DA community. Trevor and I serve as co-directors of ITP.

Next spring will mark ITP’s 20th consecutive annual spring show and 25 years since those first students approached Dr. Lamb in his physics lab. We’re ready to celebrate!

In The Pocket is inviting fans to an ITP Anniversary Celebration the weekend of Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022! There will be reunions, activities, jam sessions and rehearsals throughout the weekend, with a concert for the public at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 8. ALL In The Pocket alumni from all 25 years are invited and encouraged to attend! We will make music with everyone who wishes to. Trevor and I are hoping to have such a huge response that we have to add a second show!

ITPers far and wide, be on the lookout for official invitations later this summer (update your contact info at to ensure we can reach you), and everyone else, mark your calendars for Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m. for the ITP Anniversary Celebration. It’s been a wild ride. We can’t wait to celebrate with all of you!


ITP Milestones Over the Years

  •  Our first studio-recorded album in 2006, followed by releases in 2012, 2016 and 2021.
  • Our first club show at Motorco Music Hall in 2012, followed by shows at Haw River Ballroom and the Carrboro ArtsCenter.
  • Collaborations with phenomenal professionals like The Beast, Banda Magda and (from our most recent Motorco show) Django Haskins and Mark Simonsen of The Old Ceremony.
  • Many performances featuring DA faculty — from our first performance with Upper School English teacher Jordan Adair playing flute in our 2006 show, to our first-ever Faculty Show in fall of 2019.
  • A lecture/demonstration for music educators from around the country at the 2015 National Association for Music Education Conference in Nashville.
  • The development of our annual Alumni & Family Show — a tradition of current students getting to make music with ITP alumni and with their own family members.
  • Tens of thousands of dollars raised through our shows for student clubs and DA-affiliated organizations like Rise Against Hunger, WISER, Kidznotes, StrongHER TogetHER, SOCK Camp, and Bailadora #2 (DA’s former sister school in Nicaragua).