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JMS welcomes new band director

Due to a significant increase in participation of the formerly combined Jemison High and Middle schools band, JMS has brought aboard a middle school band director for sixth to eighth grade band members.

“She’s coming from Auburn (University), and she was a drum major while at Auburn, so she understands extensively the dynamics of what it takes to have a very successful band and to grow a band,” Principal Kendall Jackson of JMS said.

JMS middle school band director Emily-Anne Nguyen, pronounced Emily-Anne “Win,” mounted her new platform with her first assignment directing Peach Parade practice in June and now band camp, which is stretching between July 16-30.

Upon first starting her position, Nguyen was most excited about meeting her students. But now that she has gotten her feet wet in the Jemison dew during morning band practice, her anticipation has taken new shape.

“I can’t wait to just get to know these kids and to watch them grow and also to hear them perform, because we’re going to have some great performances this year,” she said.

“I’ve taught in schools across Alabama and Georgia, so it’s not my first time in a classroom — but it’s my first time to have students of my own, and I just couldn’t be more excited.”

Nguyen said her love for music awakened at young age — and her love for teaching even earlier.

“All my family are teachers, and when I was in high school, I just really fell in love with the band and decided it was one of the things that helped me really become who I am,” Nguyen said. “And so, I wanted to help change children’s lives through the art of music.”

In pursuit of just that, Nguyen attended Auburn University, where she played tuba and euphonium before graduating with a degree in music education.

Music, she said, is an international language.

“It’s something that can connect with everyone across the world. No matter who you are (or) where you’re from, we can all agree that music is great, and it helps bring people together,” Nguyen said. “So, here at Jemison, you’ve already got a really close-knit community and a close-knit family, and music is just going to help teach these kids about all the things that they need in life: responsibility, self-control, being able to self-evaluate but also to be confident and to express themselves — express their emotions and their own personal creativity.”

Nguyen said she and JHS band director Dakota Bromley have goals to set a solid foundation in fundamentals for band students, honing important skills, such as reading music, producing good sounds and performing well at both the marching band and symphonic band levels.

Contests at both levels will hopefully produce some great scores and bring home trophies, Nguyen said.

Bromley said he is excited to have Nguyen on board.

“It’s really wonderful to have somebody who’s here, who’s on the same page. I mean, from the moment she walked into the interview, I was just excited about bringing her on board,” he said. “We’re developing a really close friendship, which is just a bonus. [It is nice] having somebody who shares the same professional goals as me, and it’s nice to have somebody to share the struggle with, for once. It’s pretty cool.”

Their greatest goal for this year?

“We want to make sure that our students are growing and that they’re not just having a great time but also being able to take things home that they can keep for the rest of their lives,” Nguyen said.