As a longtime member of the mellophone section (a marching version of the French horn), he is currently sitting in the second chair position. Nate feels like the “low brass” section is coming into their own this year and will play a major role in helping the band continue a record of excellence during the competition season. “Our low brass section is really coming together now, and we’ve needed that,” Nate explained. On the whole, he expects that the band will be able to hold their own as a first time 4A band this year. He attributes this optimism to an improvement in marching skills and the overall quality of the band’s sound. However, he’s still realistic about the challenge that lays ahead. “There are all these bands out there that have a reputation of being some of the best bands in state, and now we have to step up and be better than them,” Nate said. “I think it’s going to be tough.”
Nate is also taking on some challenges in academics. His favorite class is Advanced Placement History, taught by Mr. Lisenby. His interest in historical events and places was inspired by a grandfather with an avid interest in genealogy. “My goal is to make straight A’s this year”, said Nate. He knows that his grades now will affect his ability to obtain scholarships and continue his studies at the University of Memphis in the field of pharmacy. “My dad and step mom are both pharmacists. I’ve been around pharmacy work every weekend and I enjoy working with my dad,” he added. While at the U of M, Nate plans to continue playing the mellophone with the Mighty Sound of the South Marching Band, before going on to finish his studies at the University of Tennessee pharmacy school.
Nate’s personal life is typical of most 16 year-olds. His only real hobby is collecting baseball cards, but he has been forced to put that on hold now that his summer job at Snowden Grove Park is playing out. “I can’t spend money on baseball cards anymore,” he explained. “I have to spend too much money on gas.” The majority of his free time is spent hanging out with friends, “…doing basically nothing.”
But, a couple of weeks ago, Nate did something more significant with his free time. He volunteered to work at a Red Cross shelter in Memphis that had been set up for hurricane Katrina victims, mainly moving supplies and handing out water. “My mom and I went up there. She kind of dragged me along as punishment, but it turned out that I really enjoyed it. It gave me a good feeling about myself. I wanted to go back this weekend,” Nate added.
It sounds like a good way to put some of that nervous energy to work for a good cause.