By Jill Penley
A variety of opportunities exist for Johnson County students to develop their musical talents including a comprehensive choral music
program. At the helm is Nathan Jones, a 2017 King College, who knew from a very early age, he was destined to teach and direct choral music.
“I am honored to teach general and choral music at JCHS and JCMS,” said Jones, who grew up in Norton, Virginia. “I think it is wonderful that JCHS has a band and achoral program and I hope Mrs. Cole (the band director) and I can collaborate together more frequently.”
Around 45 students take part in Jones’ two chorus classes, one at the high school called the Johnson County High School Longhorn Chorus, and one at the middle school called the Johnson County Middle School Singers. Jones also leads an additional after-school group, dubbed “Vocal Intensity,” comprised of middle and high school students who did not get the opportunity to sign up for chorus classes.
“I think my students are very lucky to have a vocal music program at the secondary school level,” said Jones, “and I’m honored to get to teach it.”
Many small rural schools eliminate vocal music class after the elementary level.
“The school I went to did not have chorus past 7th grade,” remarked Jones, who also teaches general music classes at the middle school and a guitar class at the high school.
“These classes keep me motivated to learn more about music history and music theory,” said Jones, “and it is very amazing having a class of beginning guitarists who after a few short months, are already playing real songs together in an ensemble and on their own.”
While in college, Jones performed with an a cappella group “All The King’s Men” directed by Professor Shea A. Clay.
“I majored in voice and also studied piano along with my education classes,” explained Jones. “King is the only school in Northeast Tennessee that has a 100 percent placement rate for music education graduates since the program was introduced in the early 2000s.”
Jones has already led two concerts this school year. “I try to have a theme picked out for each of my shows,” he said.
For the October concert, since it was performed near Halloween, Jones chose Broadway and film music and encouraged students to dress as their favorite characters. For the recent Christmas concert, the performance highlighted familiar holiday classics. Jones has already scheduled two additional concerts for next semester.
“In March, I am planning a Celtic celebration or maybe a concert on world music in general,” said Jones, “and for May, we will see what happens.”
For about Johnson County High School visit www.jocoed.net.