By Ashleigh Scarpinato, Staff Writer
Thomas Ballew, a freshman from Ball Ground, graduated from Creekview High School knowing that he wanted to keep music as a form of expression in his life. The music led him to Young Harris College, with an instrument in hand and the quest to succeed in his heart. Ballew was born with a special talent and wants to use his gift to earn his bachelor’s degree in music education.
As far as involvement in the arts goes, Ballew is at the top of his game. He is currently involved in six different music programs at YHC. Among those programs are: band, chorus, jazz band, saxophone quartet, clarinet chamber choir and the chapel band. In these programs, Ballew plays three different instruments. However, Ballew can play a total of seven instruments. Despite knowing a how to play a variety of instruments, Ballew has barely whet his appetite and hopes to learn to play more in the future.
Ballew’s love for music has always been a huge part of his life. He began playing in the band in middle school and followed that love into high school, where his participation thrived. While enrolled in high school, Ballew contributed his talents in every music program his school offered, from musical theatre to the marching band.
Just as participating in a college-level sport carries with it a certain level of difficulty, finding the time to balance school work and the music can be just as challenging for musicians. The musicians must practice to be the best just like any athlete. Ballew is expected to practice ten hours per instrument every week. When asked about the difficulties of balancing schoolwork and music, Ballew explained, “[my] school work is music.”
He elaborated that being a part of the music program at YHC meant “the ability to devote the maximum amount of time towards what [he] loves.” Just as athletes depend on each other to make a play to succeed, Ballew’s individual performance can influence the band as a whole, a fact that helps inspire him further to do his best at all times.
After he earns his bachelor’s degree in music education, Ballew plans to use his hobbies and love of the outdoors to help inspire him to write music. When Ballew is not playing one of the seven instruments he has mastered in one of the six music programs at YHC, Ballew enjoys rock climbing, hiking and mountain biking.
Through music, a person can acquire the confidence to perform in front of the crowd and the ability to understand the true meaning behind hard work and dedication. Ballew hopes to one day take his passion and talent in music and teach other people how to grow and learn as musicians as well.