Local musician Adrian Smith takes the reins of North Rowan bands

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 21, 2020

SALISBURY – Prolific local musician Adrian Smith has taken over as director of bands at North Rowan High School.

Smith has made a major impact on music and students in the Piedmont. And he’s is moving into the new role from the interim band director position at Carson High School. He will be taking over for Tre Holmes.

Smith has worked as music director at Cornerstone Church for 13 years and previously served as music minister at Jerusalem Baptist Church, where he established a full band. He has conducted local musicals with Piedmont Players, Lee Street Theatre, Catawba College, Livingstone College and Theatre Charlotte. His first Rowan County musical was work on a production of “Hairspray.”

Smith’s music has even made its way to local television when he provided music for the first season of WCCB Fox 18’s long-running “Got Game” in 2003.

But North Rowan is not just where Smith has ended up; it is where he wanted to be. He already served as a substitute at North Rowan and had everything a normal teacher would have, including a laptop and a district email address. He described his eventual hiring as a build up, but not a surprise.

“This is the only school I want to be at,” Smith said. “This is not a stop-gap job for me.”

He found himself heavily involved in North and surrounded by North alumni like his wife and her family. He has already taught a number of his incoming students at North High and North Middle. Smith said he has seen some of these students grow since middle school. His own kids, meanwhile, have attended North-area schools.

“I’m completely encapsulated by all these people from North Rowan High School,” Smith said. “It couldn’t be any more natural.”

Smith said he has troubling pinning down a single favorite piece of music, but he pointed to “Bohemian Rhapsody” as a song that has always impressed will stand the test of time.

Coming into his role at North, Smith said he is going to rework the marching band program to a corps style after it had largely shifted to show style.

Show style is take on marching that incorporates high stepping, dancing and athletic showmanship, which is associated with longstanding programs at Historically Black College and Universities. Smith said those programs are impressive and the result of a long tradition at those institutions, but the style can be challenging for young marchers because of the physical exertion required to perform the style and the skill marchers need to make the shows look good.

“Simple and precise,” Smith said, adding the goal is to make sure marchers will be able to perform simple techniques very well.

“I am excited to have Mr. Smith join the Cavalier family,” said North Rowan High Principal Meredith Williams. “I believe his vast experience sharing his musical talents throughout our community makes him an outstanding role model for our students.”

The school held a virtual meet and greet with Smith on Tuesday.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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