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Lady and her horn

Statesboro High's Melanie Schmid wins All-State honors in French horn

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Lady and her horn

While a serious musician, Melanie Schmid enjoys a lighter moment during rehearsal in Statesboro High band director Joe Ferguson's symphonic wind ensemble class.

            Most musicians are either technical or artistic. Statesboro High School’s Melanie Schmid is both. Once she picks up her French horn, the instrument becomes an extension of her arms. Her fingers glide across the keys of the horn, as she coaxes from her instrument sounds that please and amaze, as they resonate around the room.

            Last month, Schmid bested more than 1,000 of the best French horn players from schools throughout Georgia to earn the All-State Band's First Chair position for the French horn.

            Stephanie Furry, Ph.D., an assistant music professor at Georgia Southern University, has tutored Melanie for five years.

            “Melanie has a superb talent for music (and) an incredible work ethic,” Furry said. “If discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability, then Melanie is its embodiment."

            Watching and listening to Schmid play, it appears she doesn’t even have to breathe, as there are no noticeable breaks in her performance. Not once is there a squeak or a squawk as she plays a whole range of notes flawlessly and with little apparent effort. Her range amazes the listener, as no low is too low, nor any high too high.

            Schmid recognizes the genesis of her musical gift.

            “My whole family is musically oriented: my sister Audrey is studying trumpet performance at the Cincinnati Conservatory; my sister Laura, also a musician, is enrolled at GSU; my dad, Professor William Schmid, is a jazz trumpet specialist at GSU; and my mom, Alice, teaches music classes at GSU and is first chair trumpet in the OASIS Community Orchestra.”

            Schmid said her interest in playing a musical instrument started when she attended Langston Chapel Middle School. “

            Band Director Holly Lloyd made sure I found the right instrument to play," she said.. "I found that I liked the sound of the French horn more than the trumpet. It was more of a mellow sound.”

            Teachers at Statesboro say Schmid is well-known and well-liked.

            “Melanie, being such a phenomenal student, is one of those students every teacher wishes that they could have,' said principal Marty Waters. "She is quiet, reserved, and extremely studious.

            "She’s been in the SHS band ever since coming to the school. She also participates in all of the Swim Team meets in both team and individual competitions, with her specialties being the butterfly and breastroke. She is also a member of the Beta Club Honor Society.”

            Schmid points to Furry as the person most responsible for her success on the horn,

            She “challenged me continuously to be the best that I could be,” Schmid said.

            Schmid also has played the piano since she was 5, which helps explain her choices of favorite composers.

            She has two: Paul Hindemith, who wrote chamber music, dance music, operetta, jazz, and military music. His best-known composition is “The Symphonic Metamorphoses of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber.”

            Her second favorite composer is Gustav Holst, who wrote choral songs, song cycles, operas and orchestral pieces. His most famous composition is the “The Planets.”

            In addition to performing with the Statesboro High band, Schmid also plays French horn with the Oasis Community Orchestra and the Georgia Southern University Horn Ensemble.

            In other competitions this year she also took First Chair in the District One Honor Band, earned the First Chair in Armstrong Atlantic University’s Wind Ensemble, and played with the Honor Band at the Georgia Southern University Jam Fest.

            Currently, she is taking all honors and Advanced Placement classes at Statesboro. Her intent is to enter the Joint Enrollment Program next year, which means in addition to taking classes at Statesboro, she will take a class or classes at Georgia Southern, as well. Schmid said she is considering attending either Georgia Southern  or the University of Georgia in Athens for college.

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