JOHNSON CITY – Trey Harris, an alumnus of East Tennessee State University, was recently named the Virginia Music Educator of the Year by the Virginia Music Educators Association.
Harris is band director at Basset (Va.) High School, where his band program has earned the title of Virginia Honor Band.
This program has consistently received top honors, including superior ratings achieved by the symphonic and concert bands at the Virginia District Concert Assessment and other festivals. The Symphonic Band was selected to perform at the VMEA state conference in 2013. The Bassett Marching Band has won seven consecutive Virginia State Championships and has placed as high as second in the nation three times; this band has also won more than 40 Grand Championships in Virginia and surrounding states and has been a Bands of America Grand National Semifinalist multiple times. In addition, the Bassett Winter Guard and Indoor Percussion Ensembles have been successful in competitions from the local to national levels.
Harris has chaired District VI of the VMEA and serves as a clinician, judge, conductor and marching band visual designer across the country. He was a staff member of the All-American Marching Band for two years and wind track director for the Western Carolina University Summer Music Symposium for three years. He has also been part of many podcast recordings on The Marching Roundtable.
Harris graduated from ETSU in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in music with a concentration in instrumental music education. The Elizabethton, Tenn., native is a graduate of Elizabethton High School. Earlier this year, he was named the Henry County Teacher of the Year, Region VI Teacher of the Year, and a finalist for the Virginia Department of Education's 2014 Virginia Teacher of the Year. He also received the National Band Association Citation of Excellence in 2013.
"Teaching young people every day is the challenge I live for and fully embrace," Harris said. "If there is a greater profession, I am not aware of it. I have faith my students can change the world when they leave my classroom.
"Throughout my career, I have lived off of one philosophy in the band room: "Don't tell students what we are doing is difficult; just tell them it is what we expect.' I have found the average student will strive to do what I expect ... and the superior student will even go above my expectations. State championships will be forgotten in time; making a difference in a student's life will not."