Music students share talents tonight

Published 9:34 am Thursday, May 19, 2016

Brookhaven’s music scene has exploded in recent years. But talent requires cultivation, and local music instructor Greg Smith knows that it’s not just playing the instruments.

Performing to a live audience is a skill of its own. His students will be getting a taste of that at 7 p.m. tonight at Recess 101 on S. First Street.

It’s called the Brookhaven Rock Academy — a biannual concert where students will play hits from as far back as the 1960s and as recently as today. Smith said those students can expect to play for a big crowd.

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“The public is invited and it should be a large crowd,” Smith said. “They get an opportunity to play a big group. It gives them that stage experience. It gives them a taste of it.

“They have to learn to handle their nerves just like they have to learn to handle their instrument.”

There was a time, and not too long ago, that musicians had it rough in Brookhaven and there were few venues to play. Smith said he’s providing something he would have loved to have had himself as a child.

“I grew up in Brookhaven,” Smith said. “I’ve lived in and around Mississippi. I wish that the opportunity to perform and play with other kids my age in a concert type setting, that would have been something I would have loved taking part in as a young person. That’s the service we hope to provide for these students. Many discover talents that they might not have otherwise had. Many have been so encouraged by it they have gone on to pursue it after high school.”

There will be about 15 students between the ages of 10 and 17 performing 19 songs at the event. There will also be a few professional musicians to help fill in the gaps where needed. John Martin, a professional musician from the Loyd Star area, does most of the vocals. Andi Cotten has just last month started teaching vocals, however, and she and one of her students will also be at the event to perform.

Admission for the Brookhaven Rock Academy is free, and Smith said he wouldn’t be able to pull it off without a lot of help.

“A lot of people in the community are helping out with this,” Smith said. “We’ve got Jared Griffith whose going to be running sound for this event. Recess 101 who’s been gracious enough to let us use their facility. Tyler Bridge, the owner and manager, gives us the space week in and week out to give us the space to do the lessons and do rehearsals when the time comes. All the parents that entrust us to work with the kids, we’re definitely indebted to them and grateful to them.”