As the Sandhills Community College Jazz Band opens a program with their theme song, Glenn Miller’s A String of Pearls, the audience gets ready for a grand show. The originator of the popular concert series is Tim Haley, chairman of the Fine Arts Department.
Mr. Haley arrived on campus in 1983, with degrees from Lawrence University and East Carolina University. After 30 years, he retired from full-time teaching in 2011 and now serves as an adjunct professor.
“I have enjoyed the variety of my days not only teaching but also working with ensembles,” he says. “I have been blessed with very talented students and members of the community involved in our program.”
Mr. Haley says that Sandhills’ curriculum matches the first two years at four-year universities so music students can more easily transfer to continue their degree work. “It makes financial sense for music students to start at Sandhills,” he points out. “Our students have proven themselves to be very successful in continuing their degree work at in-state and out-of-state schools.”
There was already a Jazz Band when Mr. Haley arrived on campus but he took it in a new direction in terms of public exposure. He also steered the ensemble to a big band sound although the group retains its original name.
Mr. Haley started a concert series in 1985, performances which got a big boost when Owens Auditorium opened three years later. Today the Jazz Band, with 18 talented musicians from the college and the community, is under the direction of Rob Hill. Free performances continue to be offered every year on Valentine’s Day, Veteran’s Day and the summer concert series on the second Monday of May, June, July and August.
“One of the things that sets Sandhills apart is their focus on the arts, first led by Dr. Raymond Stone and now Dr. John Dempsey,” says Mr. Haley.
He adds, “I now go to the concerts and beam with pride like a grandparent.
Original Source, “50/50” 2012