Even before she started playing flute in the ETSU wind ensemble, music has been a vital part of Sarah King’s life.
“It’s the one outlet I could turn to when I was angry or upset that always made me feel better,” King said. “I loved singing along to the Beatles or Hilary Duff around the house as a little kid, then I loved playing drums and recorder in elementary school, then when I chose to learn to play flute in middle school it was like a whole new world of music had been revealed to me, and I just couldn’t get enough of it!”
A junior at ETSU, King has been playing flute for about 10 years, although she also has experience singing and playing piccolo and piano. King started to see music as a viable career path when she attended the Governor’s School for the Arts in 2010.
Before then, she had been considering careers in law or dentistry. She’s now majoring in music performance and has been an integral part of the ETSU wind ensemble since arriving here as a freshman.
However, Christian Zembower, the director of the ETSU wind ensemble, said that the band isn’t just limited to music majors.
“We rely on non-music majors that have good proficiency and talent on their instruments to help make the ensemble more successful,” he said.
Music majors, however, are required to have at least eight credits of ensemble in order to receive their degree, which is a bit disproportionate to the actual amount of time they spend practicing.
“Our class is a one credit class because the administration thinks that there’s no bookwork, there’s not actual written work like you do in English or math … but it isn’t really fair …,” Zembower said.
The ensemble meets three times for two hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, which Zembower believes is a lot of time to just receive one credit.
The wind ensemble holds two concerts in the spring, one near the beginning of spring break and one in mid to late April before finals.
Although she often feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day with all her music classes, homework and then practice time, King believes playing in the wind ensemble — and the marching band — has enriched her experience at ETSU.
“There are so many incredible people I never would have met without being in the wind ensemble and the marching band,” King said. “We are, in some ways, off in our own little world of Mathes Hall. It takes a very special kind of dedicated person to truly excel in these ensembles, and those are the kind of people I want to surround myself with because they can push me to be even better every day.”