At 16, Zoe Graham has her fingers on a variety of musical instruments.
The junior from Central Hardin High School plays snare, marimba and piano. At school, she plays in concerts and brass bands.
“We’ve had to make a few changes since COVID, but it gave us the opportunity to become a more cohesive group and learn new things about the art of walking,” Graham said.
She enjoys playing percussion because of the freedom it gives her to explore.
“One day I will be working on something on the marimba for the marching band and the next day I will play the piano in marimba practice,” she said. “The versatility of percussion makes it so special to me and the ability to grow on each of the instruments has been great as they are all related to each other in one way or another. “
In percussion, she was able to play many instruments, even drums for the pep band during the basketball season.
“I also recently had the opportunity to play with students from the Campbellsville University Percussion Ensemble and Steel Band where I was able to play marimba and piano with a solo,” she said. “I never thought I would play steel drums, but I’m very happy that I got this experience now. “
She called being in the group one of the most rewarding experiences of her life, bonding with other musicians in the group.
“We are honestly like family and I wouldn’t trade this for the world,” she said. “Warming up together just before the finals is an experience I will never forget. “
She said she can’t think of another school activity where students can connect and create the kind of memories you can in a group.
“The group is an important commitment for me because I can share all these moments with them and even during a stressful training or just before a competition, I know that each of us is there for each other no matter what. is coming, ”she said. .
She also played the piano for about four years. She said it’s a calming instrument that can feature a variety of styles to play and learn.
“From fast paced carnival music to slow romantic pieces, I love to explore all the different styles of music and the ways I can convey my own emotions through the rooms,” she said.
She called the piano a “wave of calm” on a busy day.
Piano teacher Sheila Jolly called Graham an “extraordinary” piano student.
“His commitment to excellence coupled with time management is unique,” said Jolly. “She often practices the piano before school or late at night to prepare.”
She said Graham is working hard and ready for the next tough assignment.
Graham’s musical skills are used beyond the band hall. She also performs in the First Christian Church Praise Group.
In this group, she works with people of varying levels of experience.
“The way everything fits together perfectly to create a beautiful song to sing for our congregation is so great for me and will always be my favorite part of my church experience,” she said.
She was also able to play in the drumline at a Kory Caudill concert at church during her freshman year.
“I have been able to work with so many incredibly talented musicians through my work with the band and I am very grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me,” she said.
Mark Melloan, cult leader at First Christian, called Graham a “talented and hardworking musician.”
“She is confident and has a great sense of humor,” he said. “Our worship group at First Christian Church loves him on and off the stage.”
In addition to everything she does in music, she manages to remain a student with honors. She said it was about prioritizing and being realistic.
During COVID, she realized how much music helped her mental health and stress levels.
“Being able to step back and take a break by relaxing and planning outings with friends outside of the group and church during the most stressful weeks has been essential in balancing the two,” she said. . “It’s about knowing what you can and can’t handle and sometimes knowing when to say no in order to do whatever you need to do. “
She said having flexible and understanding teachers and a good to-do list helped keep organized.
“Breaking everything up into little pieces to get it all done has been very beneficial in being able to manage my time between my studies and my extracurricular activities,” she said.
During COVID, she was doing her group classes online and said it was hard not to be able to happen.
“We had to grow and adapt as a group program,” she said.
While much of the world was negative, she said she was focusing on the positive.
“Sitting on the piano bench has become a familiar escape from the otherwise dark times,” she said. “I also had the opportunity to learn guitar because of the time we spent at home. “
After graduation, she will major in biology at the University of Kentucky to be on the pre-medical path. Her goal is to become a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. She will be a minor in music and be part of the marching band to keep in touch with music, she said.
You can reach Becca Owsley at 270-505-1416 firstname.lastname@example.org.