Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
For the first time in 30 years, East Central Community College has a new director of bands.
Hunter Corhern has served as the Wall O’ Sound leader since July. Corhern succeeds Thomas W. Carson, who retired from full-time teaching duties due to his battle with cancer.
Corhern, a former Starkville Academy band director who most recently served as a graduate teaching assistant at Missouri State University in Springfield, said he looks forward to continuing the success of one of the top band programs in the Mississippi Community and Junior College system.
“I am humbled that I get the opportunity to come in and work with the Wall O’ Sound,” said Corhern, a Starkville native.
“After accepting the position, I spoke with Mr. Carson about the history of the program and his experiences with it. I am truly following in the footsteps of a legend, not only at East Central but in the State of Mississippi.”
Ironically, both Carson and Corhern were 27 when they accepted the position as East Central’s director of bands.
“I am hoping that I’ll be blessed enough to work with the Wall O’ Sound for 30 years as Mr. Carson did,” Corhern remarked.
Corhern, who was selected for the post at the April meeting of the College’s Board of Trustees, said his top priority is to maintain and hopefully improve the quality of the highly-regarded band program.
“The Wall O’ Sound has had a storied tradition of success,” Corhern noted. “Our objective is to continue that success and see if we can add to it. Mr. (Ed) Girling (assistant director) and I have been hard at work this summer talking to students and planning the 2012 halftime show. It takes a lot of effort and coordination to put together a 180-piece band!”
Corhern said he plans to keep crowds “fired up” at football games by having a greater concentration on “stands tunes.”
“Coming from Mississippi State for my bachelor’s degree and Missouri State for my master’s, I found that the best way to keep the crowd engaged is to play, cheer, and get everyone fired up!” he stated.
Corhern also discussed plans for this year’s halftime show.
“Our marching show for the fall, ‘And Let There Be Rock,’ will feature several of our band members and sections, especially the Centralettes and percussion,” he said. “I hope everyone will come out and support our Warriors this fall and cheer them on with the Wall O’ Sound!”
Corhern and his family reside in the Decatur area, which is a “little bit of a change” from Springfield, Mo., as he stated:
“We just spent two years living in Springfield, with a population of 153,000; now we are living in around a population of about 1,500! However, we love being back in Mississippi!”
Corhern brings an impressive resume to his new position. He was awarded the Robert and Alice Scott Scholarship at Missouri State University in 2011, and was nominated for the College’s 2012 Outstanding Teaching Graduate Assistant Award.
He was the inaugural recipient of the W. Hunter Corhern Award at Mississippi State University, presented annually to a current or former member of the Lambda Phi Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia who demonstrates leadership and dedication in serving the chapter. Corhern is a former chapter president, vice president and treasurer of the social fraternity, which is dedicated to the advancement of music in America.
Corhern was also selected for the Society of Scholars at MSU in 2007. The organization is an honor society for students who demonstrate the highest standard of academic excellence and a broad exposure to the arts, humanities and sciences.
Corhern’s professional affiliations include membership in Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society in the field of education, which he also served as vice president. He also holds membership in Phi Kappa Phi, a national honor society for students and teachers of music.
A graduate of Starkville Academy, Corhern continued his education at MSU, where he received a bachelor of music education degree with Instrumental Emphasis in 2007 and completed a master of music degree in Wind Band Conducting in May.
Corhern has served as the director of facilitators for the Mississippi Hugh O’Brien Youth (HOBY) Leadership Seminar since 2009 and has been an active volunteer with the organization since 2002.
He was Starkville Academy’s band director from 2008-10 and served as graduate teaching assistant at Missouri State University from 2010-12.
He is married to the former Leah Vincent of Brandon, who graduated from MSU with a bachelor of music degree in 2010. They have an infant son, Nicholas Corhern.