ACS named as one of the best communities for music education

Published 7:55 am Wednesday, May 3, 2023

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

ALABASTER – Alabaster City Schools has once again been named as one of the best districts in the nation for music education.

NAMM Foundation has named Alabaster City Schools as one of the 2023 Best Communities for Music Education. ACS ranks among 830 schools districts across the nation that have been recognized for outstanding music education.

Thompson Highschool’s Director of Bands Graham Bennett shared his thoughts on the district receiving the accolade.

“I’m just honored and humbled by it,” Bennett said. “I’m just blessed to be here because this is an amazing place to be, amazing time to be here. We have the best administration, Dr. Wayne Vickers and Dr. Wesley Hester have just given us the world of opportunities for these students. (I’m) humbled that I get to sit in this chair and work with such an incredible group of young musicians and faculty and staff.”

Each year this award program recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students and community leaders who have made music education part of a well-rounded education. The designations are made to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education.

“Music education is even bigger than just music itself,” Bennett said. “I love how the band sounds and I love the music that we make together, but ultimately, at the end of the day, how are you going to take this and apply it to your (life)? The discipline that’s learned here, the teamwork, the family that’s developed here—the students learn how to work together and learn from working together how to grow.”

Bennett expressed his gratitude for the work that Thompson Middle School band directors Michael Chambless and Meredith Greene do.

“(Chambless) is an incredible person and band director because without him we wouldn’t have these kids coming to us that have the knowledge of how to play their instruments and how to be ready to take on these higher-level opportunities at the high school. (Thank you to) both Michael Chambless and Meredith Greene.”

Bennet also expressed his gratitude for the rest of the ACS music instructors, including choir instructors Charles Henry and Michael Giddens, Orchestra Director Jordan Ford, Assistant Band Director Mark Knauss, Assistant Band Director Ashton Bowles and Director of Percussion Jamiah Robbins.

Bennett shared that a majority of his band students will continue to pursue music in some form after their time at THS.

“I would say, around 70 percent or more are not only continuing in music when they go into college, even if just as a hobby, but will receive scholarships as well,” he said. “Thousands of dollars of scholarships (for) students that are going from the high school into higher education.”

Bennett expressed his gratitude for those who help make the band programs in ACS possible.

“Thank you, again, to our board members who  come to everything (and) Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers, Dr. Wesley Hester—Just the amount of support they give us and our community (and) the alabaster community and our parents,” he said. “we could not do this without all of the people in this community pulling together to make it happen in the school system is incredible.”

More information on the 2023 Best Communities for Music Education can be found online at Those interested in learning more about the THS band program may visit