Two Erskine College sophomores—music education major Benjamin Beckwith and sport management major Joshua “JT” Thomas—were recently selected for the South Carolina Intercollegiate Honor Band, sponsored by the South Carolina chapter of the College Band Directors National Association.
“The South Carolina Intercollegiate Honor Band was an absolutely phenomenal educational experience,” says Benjamin, whose main instrument, and the one he played in the band, is the trumpet. “The instruction [by the guest conductor] was eye-opening and inspiring, and I took away countless bits of information I can apply in the music education field later.”
“What I enjoyed most about the event was playing in a large ensemble again,” says Joshua, a percussionist who played the timpani, crash cymbals, and bass drum in the band. “I haven’t played in such a large group since high school, and it was musically refreshing to be a part of something like this.”
The band performed Saturday, Feb. 4, at the University of South Carolina Alumni Center in Columbia, directed by guest conductor Steven D. Davis of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory. It was a memorable experience for both musicians.
“It was wonderful to meet other collegiate musicians from the area and to play some really gorgeous music with them,” Benjamin says.
Joshua was amazed when guest conductor Steven Davis “stopped the whole rehearsal to tell me how well I play and how much he enjoyed working with me.” Davis also acknowledged Joshua’s high school band director and said that the two of them had been in communication about Joshua during the weekend.
Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Deborah Caldwell (shown in photo at top, flanked by Benjamin and Joshua) attended the South Carolina Intercollegiate Honor Band event and was happy to see her students participate. “They had a blast and I am so proud of the way they handled themselves professionally and musically!” Caldwell says. “They were both highly successful and made some great connections.”
Benjamin plays Fleet baseball and is a member of Sinfonia, Jazz Band, Choraleers, and Chamber Singers. His hometown is Enoree, South Carolina.
Joshua plays Fleet football and is a member of Sinfonia, Jazz Band, and Chapel Band. He also serves as a musician at The Life Center in Abbeville, South Carolina, where Erskine Chaplain Joshua Chiles serves as a pastor. He is from Fayetteville, Georgia.