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Langston Chapels Holly Lloyd teaches gift of music
W Holly Lloyd 4
Langston Chapel Middle School band instructor Holly Lloyd works with her eighth grade band class Thursday. Two of Lloyd's former students at Statesboro High recently earned first chair honors in All-State Band this year. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Watch Holly Lloyd teach in her classroom and talk about music on Studio Statesboro. Click below:

    It’s 9:30 a.m. on a Wednesday morning at Langston Chapel Middle School. In the band room, music teacher Holly Lloyd is going through the song “Crater Lake” with her students.
    She stands at the front of the classroom directing the seventh-graders with her baton. Lloyd stops the music whenever she hears something not quite right. Whatever the instrument – flute, French horn, trombone, drum — she corrects the flaw gently and with a smile, but also clearly and with a delicate force.
    “Any of these young people who come into my classroom can learn to play an instrument,” Lloyd said. “Some will learn to play one better than others and some will develop a real talent and bond with that instrument. But whether they carry it that far or not, I hope all my students carry the beauty of music with them all their lives. It’s such a wonderful gift.”
    Lloyd has taught music and band at Langston Chapel ever since the school opened in 1998. Except for a year off to have a child, Lloyd hasn’t missed a class. And the faculty, staff and students at Langston Chapel believe she is the best music teacher they have known.
    Lloyd said she came from a family where “music was part of our lives every single day.” She took up the flute and earned a music degree at Florida State University.
    Dr. James Croft, Professor Emeritus of Music Education and Band Director at Florida State, was one of Lloyd’s professors at FSU. He remembers her well.
    “(Holly was) a young lady with incredible determination and perseverance. You are lucky to have her in your school system,” he said.
    Lloyd’s graduate school mentor, Dr. James Locke at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, also had high praise for her.
    “Holly has a wonderful personality and is able to get along quite well with everyone. She is a team player and not a ‘Prima Donna,’” he said. “She knows how to get the job done” and is not afraid at all of hard work. She has an intense commitment to excellence in music education.”
    Langston Chapel Principal Elizabeth Williams also sees that commitment in Lloyd.
    “Holly can demand the highest levels of performance and discipline from the children and succeed,” Williams said. “Holly can take a group of middle school students who have never played an instrument before and get them to perform at a level equal to that of an experienced high school band.
    Lloyd is quick to deflect the praise and credits her success as a teacher to her students.
    “When they walk into the band room, the students need a release, and I try to give it to them,” she said. “Music can be very powerful, and once my students begin to ‘feel’ what they are playing, the fun really begins.
    “Music offers something no other subject does: the ability to not only see your accomplishments, but to ‘feel’ your success. Once the student becomes willing to listen, and then play, other kinds of music, they become eager to become even better players.”
    Two of Lloyd’s former students, Melanie Schmid and Colby Parker, both just earned First Chair designations in the Georgia All-State Band for the second time. A senior at Statesboro High, Schmid plays the French horn, while Parker, a sophomore, plays the tuba.
    “Miss Lloyd made me feel that practicing my instrument was not a chore, but rather something that I really wanted to do,” Parker said.
    “She made us understand that you have to practice at home in order to be able to play at a high level at school,” Schmid said. “Middle school is such an important age for young musicians. I wouldn’t be where I am without her guidance.”
    Lloyd said she is just appreciative two such gifted musicians as Schmid and Parker passed through her class.
    “For Colby to earn First Chair as an eighth grader and for each of them to win First Chair twice, is an amazing accomplishment,” Lloyd said. “I may never have another First Chair the rest of my career. It’s a credit to their willingness to work hard and nurture their talent.”
    Back in her classroom at Langston Chapel, Lloyd tells a trumpet player to add some more wind. She goes through “Crater Lake” dozens of times, working the sounds she wants out of her young musicians.
    “Music is hard work, but the result is just so beautiful,” Lloyd said.
    Lloyd said she couldn’t imagine doing anything else with her life but teaching music and her former professor said her students are the beneficiaries of that.
    “One could hunt the nation over for those who teach with more zeal, insight, perception, or professional competence than Holly,” Dr. Croft said. “Indeed, one would be hard pressed to find her equal.”

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