DUNN — With a major performance around the corner, musician Abby Williams and her bandmates at Midway Middle School enjoyed taking lessons from a group of college professors.
Through the Sampson County Love of Learning Grant Program, band students from Midway’s middle and high schools received advanced instruction from Methodist University’s Dr. Larry Wells (director of instrumental studies), Julia Atkins (adjunct instructor of clarinet) and Dr. Daniel McCloud (assistant professor of music). The clinic, which recently ended, started in December. Tew and students received five visits from the Methodist professors.
“I think it’s cool because we’re getting help from these people who are way up there and we’re just middle schoolers,” Abby said.
Joshua Tew, director of bands, applied for the $3,000 grant to bring in the leaders to work with the students as a whole and individually.
“The more experiences they can get like that, the better they are,” Tew said. “They get to receive more opinions and different things.”
The students are preparing for the upcoming district concert band festival.
“I was really grateful for that grant program because it gave an opportunity for the kids to work with someone one-on-one as well as group settings,” Tew said about the program led by Coordinator Margaret Turlington. “It was wonderful because with the things are now, it’s hard to find money to do things.”
Tew said it was his first time applying for grant, which provides many experiences for educators and students in Sampson County.
“I really appreciate the support they give to local schools,” Tew said. “It provides our kids with opportunities that they wouldn’t get otherwise.”
He encourages educators to find more grants, which will allow students such as Abby to enjoy new experiences.
“I liked it a lot,” said Abby, a clarinet player who received help with her all-district performance.
Like many musicians in the Sampson County School district, Abby enjoys being a part of the organization.
“It’s something I really enjoy and I feel that I’m a part of something,” Abby said. “Every-time I play I feel good about myself.”
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.