SHO Member Since: Fall 2016
Current job: Director of Operations – Al McCree Entertainment. Freelance graphic designer.
Degree/college attended: BS in Music Business, Master of Music in Performance. Lee University.
At what age did you start playing flute and when/why did you decide to pursue music as a career:
I started playing flute in 5th grade at age 10. It’s something that came naturally at first, and was more fun to practice (to me) than other instruments I had tried. I had amazing band teachers and musical mentors who poured into me at an early age. I attended a summer music camp for 9 years and there I was surrounded by musical heroes who taught me that practice and experience was just as important if not more than natural talent. I can honestly say that I am probably at my happiest when I’m playing in a room of talented and dedicated musicians. I loved and still love being one little puzzle piece among many that create the final beautiful sound. If you’re sitting in the audience and you get goosebumps from a symphony, it’s because everyone was making something beautiful, not just one person. I love that.
Who is your musical hero or inspiration: Definitely my family. My mother grew up in a musical family and she raised me in the same way. Our house was filled with music and instruments and I’m so glad that it was my “normal.” I also owe a lot to my first flute teacher/band instructor Paula Humphreys. She stayed after school and gave me extra instruction and pieces to work on when I ran out of things to play in the band book. She was always incredibly encouraging and I’ll always appreciate the time and thought she put into my life.
A funny musical experience: At my first solo and ensemble band competition, my stand partner forgot a page from one of our pieces and we didn’t realize it until we were playing, in the concert. We froke out for a second but I kept playing, and at that moment I realized that I had memorized the piece. My band director said I had really excellent eye contact, and I said explained later why that was and he couldn’t stop laughing. That experience always stuck in my mind and lead me to do research in grad school on muscle memory and how our brain processes short term and long term information during practice sessions. Memorization comes easier to some people, and I wanted to learn how to teach it to anyone.
What was your first orchestral experience: I played in my church orchestra in middle school, and I remember being terrified. This wasn’t music camp, it was a bunch of adults who knew their stuff and for some reason they were letting me play long with them. It taught me to have confidence to play in the “silence.” Church orchestrations can be kind of sparse, so sometimes there’s only one flute playing at a time and if you’re too scared to play… nothing gets heard. It taught me to play loud and strong even if it was a wrong note, being too scared to play feels worse than a mistake.
Favorite composer: I love a good moody composer, so I’m very fond of French and Russian/czech music. Guys like Dvorak, Rachmaninov and Shostakovich wrote music that seemed so full of angst. In some cases it felt like their way of protesting political or personal issues, pouring all of it into music. And then Debussy and Faure are wonderful, they’re like stepping into a dream.
What music do you listen to in your free time: I listen to a lot of everything. Anything I listen to ends up getting a little analyzed so I appreciate artists like Ben Folds or Jack White who seem to know how to make every instrument sound the best. I love a lot of Classic Rock, Alt 90’s and singer songwriter styles. You’ll find anything from Metallica to to Simon & Garfunkel on my playlists. I’m also weirdly fond of Skrillex. He makes sounds that are almost alien, it can be a little mesmerizing.
Other: I’m big nerd. I can waste a lot of time talking about Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or the timespace plot holes in the Terminator franchise. I loathe running, but I’m very into fitness and eating healthy. I’ve been told that I know more about planning a Disney vacation than the average adult should know. I love to read and I love to cook. When I’m stressed, I make an absurd amount of baked goods, mostly Cake Pops. That’s about it. Oh and coffee. I drink a lot of that.
SHO Member Since: Summer 2015
Current job: Public Health Nurse Consultant
Degree/college attended: B.S. in Biology, Tennessee State University and B.S. in Nursing, Tennessee State University
At what age did you start playing cello and when/why did you decide to pursue music as a career: I was about 7 or 8 years old and I remember being at festival in my hometown, Mesa, AZ, watching a cellist playing in a quartet. I remember just falling in love with the sound of the cello and I grabbing my dad’s hand and pointing, telling him, “I want to play that!” So, when I entered the fourth grade, I began to play the cello and continued playing throughout my high school years at Mountain View High School and in college at MTSU and TSU. I took private lessons in Arizona at a very serious studio where my teacher enhanced my natural playing ability and tried to encourage me to enter competitions and play in different settings. Although I loved playing, I didn’t have a longing to practice as a teen and young adult, so I didn’t pursue music as a career. Nevertheless, as time went by and I accomplished other career goals, I found myself longing to play again and my mother saw an ad in the paper about the Spring Hill Orchestra. Perfect Timing, God’s Timing. It had been about 6 years since I plucked a string, but I began playing like I had never put it down and it brought back a such an overwhelming feeling of joy. I fell in love all over again and began taking lessons again in hopes of starting my own cello studio in Spring Hill soon.
Who is your musical hero or inspiration: Oh wow, well I really love listening to the cello icons Jacqueline Du Pre, YoYo Ma, Rostropovich, etc. Lately I am really feeling a lot of the classically inspired modern, pop music so The Piano Guys, Damien Escobar, 2Cellos, and ThatCelloGuy are definitely musical inspirations. Also, I like to follow the young cellists Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Sujari Britt. Truly inspiring to watch them tap into their craft and be able to develop it the way they have.
A funny musical experience: Honestly, I think some of the funniest musical experiences I have come from the conductor’s podium in the form of Corny Conductor Jokes. Thank you to all the conductors who think of themselves as comedians, especially Dr. Walter Temme, my high school orchestra conductor. You keep music fun.
What was your first orchestral experience: My first orchestral experience was actually my own concert! I still love playing in a full symphony orchestra!
Favorite composer: Some of my favorites are Bach, Haydn, Vivaldi, Rachmaninoff, Dvorak, and Tchaikovsky.
What music do you listen to in your free time: I listen to pretty much every type of genre there is (except heavy metal). Southern and contemporary gospel, rock, jazz, classical, pop, hip-hop, R&B, country, classical, you name it. I love music and I love to explore all it has to offer.
Are you an orchestra musician looking for an outlet to play in the greater Spring Hill area? Consider joining the Spring Hill Orchestra. We are devoted to bringing classical orchestral music to the community. Founded in November 2014, this group is composed of a wonderfully diverse mix of people. We rehearse on Monday evenings in Spring Hill from 7-9pm and perform an average of four different concerts per year.
We are ALWAYS in need of more string players. If you would like to come sit in at rehearsal to see what it’s like please feel free to contact us and we will gladly make arrangements. We are also occasionally in need of extra winds and percussion so let us know if you are interested.
We look forward to hearing from you!