Dicy McCullough: Myron and Tremayne carry on West band tradition
When Myron Massey Jr. graduated from West Rowan High School in 2006, he knew he wanted to become a music teacher. Inspired by his band director at the time, Tammy Reyes, Myron wanted to inspire students just as Ms. Reyes had inspired him. With that goal in mind, he started his freshman year at UNC-Chapel Hill as a music major.
Ms. Reyes remembered Myron as a talented student from the start. ”Myron led by example, both off and on the field,” she said. “Mature for his age, his judgment could always be trusted. I wasn’t surprised one bit Myron chose music as his major at UNC-CH.”
During his junior year at West, Myron told his parents, Margaret and Myron Massey Sr., he wanted to be a band director. This news came as a complete surprise because up until then, Myron had always dreamed of being a doctor, computer technician or lawyer. Myron’s mom said, “Even though this news was a surprise, we knew once Myron made up his mind, he would follow through 100 percent.”
In the top 10 percent of his class while at West, Myron applied for and received a Teaching Fellow scholar to UNC-Chapel Hill. Excelling as a student on campus, during his senior year as a Tar Heel, Myron had the distinguished honor of being drum major for the marching band. Interestingly enough, that same year, another West Rowan student inspired by Ms. Reyes, Tremayne Smith, was drum major at East Carolina.
When UNC-Chapel Hill and East Carolina met on the football field that fall, there was no one prouder than Ms. Reyes at halftime to see her former students take the spotlight. She said she will never forget that game. Myron is quick to point out that Carolina won. Tremayne, with his unique sense of humor said, “That may be true, but Chapel Hill didn’t have a ‘back flipping’ drum major like East Carolina.” He then said, “Both schools were winners because they had West Rowan students leading their bands.”
After graduating from Chapel Hill, Myron took a position as band director at Asheville High School, while Tremayne went an extra year to get a double major in political science and music. Tremayne is now band director at Rocky Mount High School.
While I was visiting with Myron one Sunday afternoon recently, it didn’t take long for his love of music, his band and his students to become obvious. Myron said he couldn’t imagine having a better position than he does now, and I believe he’s right. Asheville High is about the size of West Rowan, but West Rowan has only one band director, while Asheville has two. With two band directors, students not only benefit from receiving more one-on-one time, but there’s also the advantage of extra time for arranging songs and preparing for performances. That was definitely a plus when Asheville High submitted a performance package to the selection committee responsible for choosing bands for the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Parade.
To be considered, each band had to submit a packet of information to a screening committee with their awards, competition scores and a video of past performances. When William Talley, head band director at Asheville High School, was notified the band had been selected to perform, he let Principal Carol Ray know. She made the announcement to the band students, and Myron said everyone was so excited they could hardly contain their enthusiasm. With the band performing above and beyond expectations during the parade, each of the students, as well as Myron, have memories they will hold in their hearts forever. Who knew music could take a person all the way to Washington, D.C.? I bet Ms. Reyes did.
With the parallel paths Myron and Tremayne have followed, it’s ironic they teach at opposite ends of the state. Wouldn’t it be cool if they could meet somewhere in the middle, say at West Rowan, to perform? Since Ms. Reyes was one of the major influences in their lives, it would be even sweeter if Ms. Reyes could come too. Maybe sometime in the future.
But in the meantime, Myron will perform with the West Rowan band at the second annual WRHS Band & Chorus “Pops in the Park” concert at Cleveland Park, May 24 at 6:30 p.m. West Rowan band director Daniel Trivette says the concert will feature music from popular bands, musicals, movies and more. Hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza and drinks will be available.
Bring your lawn chairs for an enjoyable, relaxing evening of music in the park. And while you’re there, give a warm welcome back to Myron, one of West Rowan’s brightest stars. Hope to see you at the park.
Dicy McCullough’s books are available at local bookstores, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Call her at 704-278-4377.