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Thorsby names new band director

Thorsby School will have a new band director heading into the 2018-2019 school year.

Cheryl O’Brien has been named to the position. She graduated from Samford University with a degree in music education.

After college, she taught music at John Carroll Catholic High School for about three years before deciding to be a stay-at-home mom while offering private music lessons.

“I just decided to take a different direction,” O’Brien said.

That direction has now turned back the other way with her youngest child starting school, which has led her to getting back into promoting music at the high school level.

According to band booster president Theresa Speakman, the band boosters at Thorsby can play a big role in helping the transition of a new band director go smoothly.

“We can stand behind her [O’Brien], and help out as parents,” Speakman said. “If the kids see the excitement in their band director, it will flow down to them. Everything we do is for the children.”

O’Brien has appreciated music since an early age, and hopes to instill that same passion in her students.

Cheryl O’Brien was recently named band director at Thorsby School. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

“Music has just always been my thing,” O’Brien said. “I don’t know what I would be without it.”

In many ways, music is more than just sound in the eyes of O’Brien. It can also serve as a path to build strong character.

“My biggest goal in teaching is not just musical excellence, but also character building,” O’Brien said. “I want them [students] to be productive members of society when they’re done here.”

The plan by the end of year one is to have established proper fundamentals that can be added upon in the following year.

The theme for this year’s halftime performances is “’80s Rock and Roll.” It will open with “Don’t stop believing” by Journey, followed by “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and “Any Way You Want It” by Journey.

According to O’Brien, several of the band members have some amount of experience marching.

“We have a small program, but I think there is a lot of potential to grow,” O’Brien said. “I’m very excited about this year.”

One of the first steps in growth is creating interest among students that may not have considered band before.

Thorsby’s band is comprised of seventh to 12th grade students.

“I want to visit with the sixth grade classes when school starts and see if I can recruit some beginners from there,” O’Brien said. “It’s going to be a busy fall with football and fundraisers coming up. I invite everyone to come out and support us.”