ACHS welcomes new band director

James HowellStaff

August 29, 2012

Ashe County’s new band director Carrie Mitchell hopes to push her students to new heights and build the program for years to come.

“My goal is to build their confidence and to build this program,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell is from Lexington and grew up taking private harp lessons. She played in the marching band in middle school and high school. While there, she was instructed by a former student of Scott Turnmyre (retired ACHS band director), so Mitchell says she is from the same school of thought as Turnmyre.

Mitchell earned a degree in music education from the University of North Carolina Greensboro. While attending UNCG, she learned the skills necessary to direct a marching band, and met her husband. They now live in Butler, Tenn.

The band’s first performance was at Watauga last Friday. Watauga High School graciously allowed Ashe County High School’s marching band to perform during their half time show. Mitchell said her students played very well and she was proud of them.

Mitchell will make her official debut in front of the Ashe County community at tonight’s home football game against North Surry.

Mitchell also praised the drive and focus of her students, saying, “They are really humble, they go with the flow, they work hard, and they are growing fast.”

Mitchell believes she is pushing them to a potential they haven’t been pushed to yet. This is made evident when her students happily accept the challenge of more complex songs, rather than the simpler songs they played before she arrived.

When asked what songs the band will perform this year, Mitchell said their music will be inspired by award-winning movie composer Danny Elfman.

The band will play several of Elfman’s works, including his theme from Sam Raimi’s Spiderman movies.

The band will also play several of Elfman’s collaborations with Tim Burton, which include scores from Batman, Batman Returns, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands.

Always encouraging more practice, Mitchell says the band will be hosting a competition at noon on Saturday, Oct. 13, in the football stadium. Several marching bands from surrounding counties will participate, capped off by Ashe County’s marching band.

When asked how she likes the job, Mitchell said, “I am loving it. It’s a dream so far, and I don’t think that’s going to change.” Mitchell also said she would like to thank the community for the opportunity to direct Ashe County’s marching band.