Honors Band Takes on Special Projects, Leadership

January 18, 2022 / All News
From left, Charlie Earl, Morgan Turner, Danielle Wallace, Boston Hollingsworth, Kendrick (KD) Davis, Addie Elliott, Genesis Graves, and Titus Taylor. Not pictured: Noah Pressler

The feeling of being a leader is one of the unexpected aspects of Jackson Academy’s honors band class. Eight band members from sophomore to senior are taking part in an honors experience with many benefits, and not simply the extra three points the honors projects add to their average.

Projects underway include real-life professional duties of a musician and creative endeavors. The work comprises reformatting the entire music library, locating former JA band alumni, creating and producing a video of the entire band season, running band Instagram and Facebook accounts, scheduling the drumline to perform at basketball and soccer games, and organizing the drum room. Creative projects include:

  • Writing music.
  • Planning a marching band show.
  • Preparing a complex solo piece.
  • Creating instrument mouthpieces with 3-D printing.

Morgan Turner said the honors band has “increased my playing ability” and helped her direct her competitive spirit into something very productive. Kendrick Davis said working on a “bunch of pieces made me a better writer.” Boston Hollingsworth said he had learned additional time management skills from his honors work helping locate former band alumni. Titus Taylor has developed mouthpieces for instruments using 3-D printing, assisting fellow students when they need to replace an instrument’s worn mouthpiece. Charlie Earl is scheduling the drumline to raise spirits at basketball and soccer games, and Noah Pressler is working on booking small group performances.

Another element of this work that surprised some of the honors band members is their influence on other band members. They have found that younger band members look up to older band members who enjoy the band. Addie even gives lessons to beginners, and many of the honors band members mentor younger students during classes. Genesis Graves said the honors class has made her more aware of what it means to be a leader.

“It feels good to contribute to the overall band program and help out the band,” said Boston. Morgan agreed, saying, “It makes you feel like you are a good musician” when Band Director Todd Taylor asks you to help out the band in some way. She noted that it gives students confidence as they explore band opportunities in colleges and consider future careers. These students are stepping into opportunities while in high school, testing the waters. Group members have recently participated in the Mississippi State University Honors Marching Band program. This semester, Danielle Wallace will travel to a flute convention in Florida, and Kendrick is participating in the MSU State Honors Band.