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North Side and South Side High School musicians invited to 2024 annual UTM Chamber Fest

By Sabrina Bates

Staff Writer

Grant Barron is a senior at North Side High School. He plays the clarinet. Grant is the son of Jason and Christen Barron. He has been in band for six years. His future plans include attending the University of Tennessee at Knoxville to major in Aerospace Engineering. (Photo submitted)

Although March is designated annually as Music In Our Schools Month, the work of student musicians is a year-round commitment. When marching season winds down during the first semester of school, the second semester is dedicated to concert season. In the summertime, band and guard members spend their days at band camps across West Tennessee, honing their skills and preparing for the start to a new school year.

The University of Tennessee at Martin Department of Music is a hub for student musicians in West Tennessee. Each year in March, high school band members are invited to be a part of the annual Chamber Fest. Band members from across west Tennessee audition for a slot in one of a variety of choirs and ensembles.

Ahnalee Shaw is a freshman at North Side High School, where sent plays the flute for the band. She is the daughter of Caitlin Hutcherson and Seth Howell. Ahnalee has been a band member for two years. After high school, she plans to attend an Ivy League college in Connecticut for Marine Biology. (Submitted)

This year’s event in UT Martin’s Fine Arts building saw six students from Jackson-Madison County Schools selected to participate in Chamber Fest. Students traveled from as far as Adamsville, Lexington, Bartlett, Henry County and Jackson, joining their peers for late-night rehearsals before they take the stage in unison for a series of performances on Saturday.

Cameron Taylor is a junior at North Side High School. He plays the clarinet. Cameron is the son of Karen Hutton and Robert Taylor. He has been in band for three years. His future goals include attending college to major in Chemistry with a Music minor. He wants to be a Chemical Analyst. (Photo submitted)

Invited to attend this year’s Chamber Fest from North Side High School were Ahnalee Shaw, Cameron Taylor and Grant Barron.

Shaw joined 18 of her peers in the Flute Choir.

Taylor and Barron were a part of the Clarinet Choir.

Three members of the South Side High School band were also invited to be a part of this year’s Chamber Fest. They included William Spicer, Dakota Rose and Karlie Hicks. Spicer was a part of the Brass Quintet, where he played trumpet. Rose was a member of the three-person Percussion Ensemble. Hicks was a member of the Flute Choir.

The Flute Choir performed “Winter’s Journey” and “Flute Fiesta” under the coaching of Prof. Charles Lewis.

The Brass Quartet performed “Bouree and Minuet” from Water Music under the coaching of Dr. Joseph Frye and Kelsey Vandergruff.

Dr. Doug Owens coached the Saxophone Ensemble that performed “Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14” and “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”

“Fanfare” and “One Hand, One Heart” were performed by the Brass Quintet, under the direction of Dr. Jessie Thorman and Dr. Greg McCracken.

Prof. Austin Shoupe led the Percussion Ensemble that performed “Omnes Trio.”

Closing out the day of mini-concerts was the Clarinet Choir under the direction of Dr. Liz Aleksander. The clarinetists performed “Night on Bald Mountain” and “Take On Me.”

Visit the Jackson Post’s Facebook page for videos of student musicians performing “Omnes Trio” and “Take On Me.”

The North Side High School band took the stage at UT Martin the following weekend for the West Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association Concert Festival. The student musicians earned a Superior Rating in Prepared Music and Sight Reading, which is the highest rating a group can receive at the Festival.

Sabrina Bates,

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