Student musicians create melodies outside of school


Laura Dupree

Standing outside the Freed Center for Performing Arts are seniors Cody Dupree and Hailey Carmen, junior Tyler Paul, senior Twonaisha McGlothin and junior Jasper Atkin.

For many SHS band members, music is so much more a part of their lives than practicing seventh period, marching on Friday nights and performing in two to three concerts a year.

Senior Cody Dupree is just one example of that, being involved in groups like Kent Youth Winds and participating in activities with the American School Band Director Association, at Ohio Northern University, Solo and Ensemble and even going to Colorado to perform. 

Inside the ASBDA auditorium are senior Cody Dupree, sophomore Aiden Sadowski, seniors Hailey Carmen and Sam Labbe and junior Tyler Paul. (Not pictured are sophomore Abigail Holmes and junior Jackson Kallay). (Laura Dupree)

Band director Brett Dawson has connected students like Dupree with different opportunities to further their involvement in music beyond SHS. For example, on the weekend of Feb. 24, 15 students were in different parts of the state participating in various opportunities: seven at ASBDA, and eight with the Notre Dame Honors Band. 

Dawson said connecting students with all of these opportunities is beneficial because they get to learn from others rather than just him. Because he is a member of the organization and has connections with other directors, Dawson explained, he has access to bigger events such as ASBDA, which not everyone can just sign their students up for. 

After Dawson registers his students for these activities, they receive and practice their music, making sure to prepare with other SHS band members who will be attending. At the event, students meet musicians from other schools, and the people they will sit near for the hours of playing. They also meet the director and guest conductor. 

After the introductions, talking about the program is the focus. Then participants play through the pieces together to get a balance of the sound, tone and quality of the group. 

“I love each and every one of these opportunities,” said senior Hailey Carmen, who plays trombone.

Carmen participated in ONU and KYW along with junior Jasper Atkin, who plays the saxophone.

Atkin said his experience doing these other activities was “Good, although I wish I knew the caliber of the other players / the program before signing up.” 

Dupree said his experience with ONU’s program was that it was set up to entice students to apply to that program. 

“In my opinion, that’s not what those opportunities are for,” he said. “Those opportunities are for you to experience something outside of your class, outside of what your director knows, because when you’re learning music you don’t want to learn just from one director.”

Dupree said he first picked out his choice of instrumentation in fifth grade during a music workshop, when he found out that he had the perfect “V” formation to play the flute. He also plays piccolo.

Cody Dupree and Hailey Carmen practiced at Kent Youth. (Laura Dupree)

Carmen said she initially decided to play trombone because she wanted to play an instrument bigger than her. Atkin recalled landing on alto saxophone because he got the perfect score during the music workshop in fifth grade. 

Dupree and Carmen plan to continue their involvement in music after they graduate. Dupree will be studying mechanical engineering at Tennessee Tech. He still plans on playing the flute through college, though it will be his minor, and not his major. 

Carmen is attending Kent State, where she plans to participate in the marching band.