The 13th Annual Music Recital for the students of Mike Lee has become a fall event and for a few years now has been held at D. Geraldine Lawson Performing Arts Theatre.
Lee hopes to keep this great venue and the third Sunday in October as the date. The event was well attended this year and Lee feels like the students were encouraged. Lee has stressed education as part of the recital and the young ones were asked to watch the fellow participants closely so to pick out one who stood out as best overall performer. Lee goes over the performance evaluation sheets with each student in hopes to help them improve their music and performing skills. This year the performance evaluators were Jordan Epperly, Julia Ewen and Isaac Lee, all of whom had once studied under Lee.
Kenny Seay was the motivational speaker and gave insight into how to practice and what practice really involves. Kenny is quite the rock-in-roll performer and teacher and attended Berklee College of Music in Boston.
A highlight this year was that one of Lee’s longtime students, Hannah Wright, has chosen to go to college next fall to major in music and in hopes to pursue music therapy as an occupation. Hannah desires to go to Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., but the final decision has not yet been made. Lee has promised Wright $1,000 to help with her education when the choice is made. Lee wants to make this a ongoing tradition and will donate monies to each student who decides to have music as their major or minor in college.
Eleven students performed in the Children’s Recital this year. The overall best performer was Kaeli Berry; in second place was Justin Broughman, and in third was Eli Whitley. The votes of the children were figured in as 25 percent of the scoring and their votes affirmed each placement of the best performers. Eighteen students performed in the Teen and Adult Recital. Hannah Wright was chosen as the best performer, Jacob Holdren was second and Daniel Holter was third. Not everyone wants to make this a contest but everyone wants to see their scores so they can become a better musician, Lee said.
Awards were given to Kaeli Berry and Mitchell Fritz for having best attendance to their weekly lessons. The most improved teacher’s choice award was given to Owen Breeden and Mike Hurd.
Lee thanked John Lawson and Grace Lawson who worked the sound booth; Ray Sloan and Bob Hetherington who offered up prayers for the students; Jacob Holdren and Kaeli Berry who both did a great job leading the crowd in “The Star Spangled Banner.” David Austin was a great stagehand as always and at the end of the recital gave remarks about Lee and inspirational words for all in attendance.
The closing song was a fun and energetic version of Marshall Tucker’s “Fire on The Mountain” on which many of the students participated. Lee thanked all who made this recital successful but most importantly he thanks God “who gives the gift of music!” he said.