They say timing is everything, and so it was for Eminence High School senior Alyssa Jones.
Jones, who has been involved in her church choir since she was very young and began taking voice lessons from Ruth Ann Mills-Moore in New Castle as a fourth-grader, participated in the music program during her three years at Henry County High School.
Last summer, she and her family moved to the house in Eminence where her late grandmother lived. That meant transferring from HCHS to EHS for her senior year.
Fortunately for Jones, it was the same year that EHS brought it’s music program back after a decade-long absence.
“If she had come here last year, she wouldn’t have had that [artistic] outlet she was accustomed to,” said EHS music teacher Curtis Moss.
And it’s a good thing, too, because Jones has a lot of talent – enough to enable her to sing one of the hardest pieces of music there is: The National Anthem.
“She’s definitely very talented,” Moss said. “Her mom and other people in Henry County really recognized her talent and pushed her to get better. ... She is one of those kids who responds to [being pushed]. It’s enjoyable for her, and she continues [to learn] without drama.”
Her favorite genre is musical theater, because “it’s really fun to work with,” she said, adding that “Rent” is her favorite Broadway hit. “I liked the message of the musical, which is AIDS. It’s beautifully composed and performed wonderfully.”
She said she’s “dabbled” in writing music and has “directed a little, but I don’t really like it. I’d rather perform.”
That said, when she heads to Western Kentucky University in the fall, Jones plans to major in psychology. She said she likely will minor in music therapy, which would complement her goal of becoming a clinical psychologist and working with troubled teens.
In the meantime, she plans to stay involved with the adult choir at her church. Singing in the church choir is “when I feel closest to God.”
Moss said he is glad that the state’s focus on music education has shifted from learning about music theory and history to performance. The program is now less about the quick-recall of facts and more about what opportunities a district offers to its students in the arts.
“Which is really what it’s all about,” he said, adding that he has been impressed with the talent he’s seen at the school. All along, “there have been vocally talented kids [here] who did not have an outlet.”
Jones agrees. “It’s definitely more fun for us to participate and be involved with making our own art, rather than just learning about it.”