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SCHS band under new direction

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By Nathan L. McBroom

The rhythms, melodies and block rocking beats that the Shelby County High School band is known for are back again this school year.

Along with a slew of new songs and routines for home athletic events and band competitions, the band also has a new director this year.

Jenny Van Tiem took over as director of the band towards the end of the band camp in late July. In the four weeks Van Tiem has been on the job, she has been busy getting to know the students and boosters and getting the band ready to perform.

Van Tiem and her husband moved to Shelbyville from Detroit over a year ago in order to find a slower pace of life.

But with hundreds of names to remember and 100 degree heat on the blacktop, August has been anything but slow, she said.

Van Tiem graduated from Wayne State University in Detroit in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in music.

During her days of playing in bands, Van Tiem's principal instrument was percussion performance.

In the past she has directed bands with up to 387 members.

Currently the SCHS band has between 70 to 80 members. But Van Tiem said she hopes that number will grow over time.

Van Tiem, 27, said she is working hard to build strong bonds and relationships with the band members and their parents.

She said the members of the band are dedicated to what they do.

"They are working hard and they are showing a lot of hard work," she said.

She said in the future she would like to "let the community see a lot more of the band."

Band members said they are hoping that Van Tiem will push them to the next level.

Allen Palmer, a marimba player in the band, said Van Tiem has done a great job with the band so far.

"We've learned more music this year than last year," he said. "It's going real well."

Currently Van Tiem is dividing her time between directing the SCHS band and the elementary bands at Simpsonville and Painted Stone elementary schools.