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ZEBULON — From John Phillips Sousa to Bruno Mars, Corinth Holders Elementary students were exposed to a wide range of musical styles when the Hot Horns brass band recently visited campus.
The Indiana-based band was concluding a three-week concert swing through eastern North Carolina, entertaining and educating students.
“Our group was organized in 1995,” said Glen Johnson, band leader and trumpet player. “We come to this region twice a year performing in schools.”
Hot Horns has performed in 48 states and South Korea.
“We give young audiences a different musical experience,” said Johnson. “It’s been a good feeling to inspire students who are struggling with whether or not to play. Of course, if they practice, they’ll improve. We talk about things during the show and students are motivated.”
Music teacher Anna Lee invited the band to perform.
“As part of the North Carolina Standards for Elementary Music, I teach the students about the different instruments, the sounds they make and how they fit into a musical group such as a symphony or a band,” said Lee. “Hot Horns did a great job of adding to the students’ knowledge on that topic. “
Hot Horns is on the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County’s directory of artists recommended for school appearances. The directory offers information about more than 280 potential school programs.
Hot Horns’ Nov. 1 appearance was partially funded by the Johnston County Artists Council. According to the Raleigh and Wake County website, the band receives $1,000 per performance.
The program presented on Nov. 1 was “Pop to Rock.” The band began with Sousa’s “The Thunder “ and transitioned to “Take the A Train” by Duke Ellington.
Students and faculty gathered in the cafeteria seemed to enjoy the performance. Students were clapping and pounding the tables as the Hot Horns performed.
“The way the students responded filled me with joy,” said Lee. “They enjoyed every minute of the performance, as seen in their dancing bodies, smiling faces and clapping hands, while still being respectful to the performers and showing phenomenal concert etiquette. I am so proud of them.”
Lee said music resonates with children.
“It is a way for them to express themselves and provides a creative outlet. Children love to dance, sing and play instruments of all kinds,” said Lee. “They also enjoy being able to be a composer and create pieces of music that are unique to them.”
The band shifted gears to rock and roll and “Uptown Funk,” performing “Frankenstein” by The Edgar Winter Group and “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. Other music performed incuded numbers by Imagine Dragons, Mars and Taylor Swift.
At the concert’s end, students and faculty had a dance party.
When school districts look at possible budget cuts, music and the arts can be casualties. Lee explained why the arts are vital.
“Music, specifically, encompasses all subjects in a way that is unique. Math is found in the way rhythm is counted and in various parts of music composition. Reading is found in the terminology and vocabulary that is used in both reading music and analyzing it,” said Lee. “Science is found in the production of sound by using musical instruments, as well as the use of the whole brain when playing music. History is found in the study of composers who created music that reflects the lives of people in various time periods and geographies.”
But Lee said her greatest joy is how music affects her students.
“Music can be very therapeutic,” Lee said. “I’ve seen music affect my students in many positive ways.”