Major, a man with music in his life

Published 2:02 pm Thursday, April 29, 2004

By By LYDIA GRIMES Feature Reporter
Carl Major is in his third year as Director of Bands at T.R. Miller High School. During that time he has led the band to new heights of excellence both in the state and in the nation. The T.R. Miller Band was listed in Drum Corp International "Commitment to Excellence" program in 2004. At this time the program recognizes 937 bands in the United States and T.R. Miller is one of 37 bands in the state to be listed for the award.
Most people don't think much about a high school band until they take up their place on a football field during half-time. It's true that they may be more visible at the time to the public, but only band members and parents of band members know just how time consuming and demanding it is.
The returns have been good for the time that Major and the band put in. The band room is surrounded with trophies of all sizes and plaques proclaiming their ratings.
Right now the band is getting ready for its Spring Concert, the "Solo and Ensemble" and band banquet coming up very soon and is already working on the football game music for next year. That music is written by Major. In fact he writes a lot of music for the Miller band. He is the past Percussion Coordinator for the Gulf Coast Winter Guard. Serving as percussion editor for the Jalen Publishing Company of Orlando, Fla. he has had over 75 percussion arrangements published with Jalen Publishing, Pepper Music and Matrix Publishing Companies. The percussion section of T.R. Miller band has recorded music for Jalen for two years in a row, under the direction of Major. The name, "T.R. Miller Percussion Section" is on the label of a promotional CD that is sent to over 18,000 public high school and middle school band programs around the country. In 2000, Major's band program was listed as a "Grammy Signature School" as being one of the top 100 band programs in the United States. This was while he was band director at Foley High School. He received a letter from President Clinton and a call from the White House. He proudly displays his letter on the wall of his office along with stained glass pieces made by his wife.
This is probably no more evident than in the late summer when everyone else is still on vacation. Like the football team, the band is on the field morning, noon and night getting their act together so that everyone will be dazzled at halftime.
Major was born at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss. while his dad was in the military. He was raised in Bay St. Louis, Miss., the youngest of two brothers. He graduated from Bay Senior High School in 1989.
He was selected as one of two people in Mississippi to be a member of the McDonald's Marching Band and won the Yamaha Musical Award while a part of the McDonald's Band and was voted by the directors to be most outstanding.
He graduated from high school with a full scholarship to the University of Southern Mississippi.
He not only was an excellent band member, he was also an excellent student. He graduated early with a 3.69 grade point average with a bachelors degree.
He began writing music while he was in college and continues to do so at the present time.
After graduation he went to Selmer, Tenn. and got his first teaching job as Assistant Band Director. He then went to Mariana, Fla. as Assistant Band Director where he stayed for three years. His next job was at Foley High School where he was the Band Director for five years.
He got a call to come to Brewton and moved here in 2001.
Major and his wife, Amanda, were married when he was a senior in college. They have three children, Madison Leigh, age 6, Carson, age 5, and Grayson, age 3.
He just got his master's degree from the University of Phoenix, doing it in a rather unconventional way. He worked and got it online using his computer. In fact he uses his computer quite a bit to compose and stay in touch with the companies, Jalen, Matrix and Pepper Music.
He and his family are quite content the way things are. They would like to be able to travel more, but having three kids doesn't allow for much of it.
The Majors belong to the First Baptist Church and love to spend time together. After listening to a band all the time, they like any peace and quiet they can find.