It really wasn’t a big deal to me, I was the youngest of four girls and my parents encouraged all of us to take piano lessons. We were still living in Alabama and I was about 10 years old when I started piano. When I was 12 my family moved to Highland County, Virginia when my dad took a job as an engineer for the Bath County Hydroelectric Dam. It was there where I began middle school. At the beginning of the year they had a meeting for all students who were interested in joining band. I honestly had no intentions of going to this meeting, but my best friend, Sherry Hammer, was going so I decided to go as well. After that initial meeting there was a second meeting that my mother attended with me where you were introduced to all the musical instruments and you could decide what you were going to play. It was there that I chose the flute and I have played ever since. That’s really when my love for music began.
When did you know you wanted to be a band director?
I knew going into college that was what I wanted to do. In order to graduate on time you have to start the curriculum as a freshman. I went to Bridgewater College where I played the flute and studied K-12 Instrumental Music with emphasis in piano and flute. After graduation I got a job with Rockbridge County schools. My first year I taught elementary music at two different elementary schools. My second year I started teaching at the middle and high school level as band director and stayed there for 11 years.
When did you come to North Cross?
I was pregnant with Abigail when Robert and I decided to move to Roanoke. When Abigail was a baby I heard about the opening at North Cross for a part-time band director. I thought going back to work part-time would be perfect for a few years while Abigail was still a baby. The year before I started, band was taught in the middle school, I can’t imagine how noisy it must have been! Needless to say, my first year I moved classes to Fishburn Auditorium. At the time the only instruments the school had was a pair of crash cymbals and sleigh bells. About halfway through my second year the construction of New Slack Hall was completed so I was able to move and have an official classroom. Since then we have this amazing space to teach and learn in, an amazing array of instruments available for our use, and have really been able to build the program to what it is today.
What do you love most about being a band director?
I love what every instrument can do, from the french horn, to the clarinet, the trumpet, percussion, even the oboe and bassoon. I truly enjoy hearing students develop on their particular instrument. It is so interesting to give out individual pieces of music for each instrument, and to hear all of the parts come together is truly amazing. It doesn’t magically happen and it does take time, but even after all these years it still fascinates me.
Tell me how the Combined Honor Band Day started?
I started Combined Honor Band Day purely to give my students the opportunity to play with a larger ensemble. As musicians we come together with students from other area schools with the same goal of performing and sounding good together. Some of the students that audition and play in the All-District Band get the opportunity to play with a large group but that was something I really wanted all of my students to experience. This year we will host the 12th annual Combined Honor Band Day!