Nominated by Chris White
Blair Smith recently retired after 30 years of service to the North Carolina public education system. He is from Mechanicsville, Virginia, where he graduated from Lee-Davis High School. His band director was David L. Hoggard. Mr. Smith graduated from East Carolina University in 1985. His mentors were Herb Carter, Tom Goolsby and Harold Jones. He began his teaching career at Chaloner Middle School in Roanoke Rapids, learning from David Hawks. He moved to Central Cabarrus High School in 1991. While at Central, he benefited from the musical knowledge of Edd Powell. Mr. Smith retired as the Director of Bands at Jay M. Robinson High School in Concord, which opened in August 2001. Blair now works for Digital Performance Gear which provides apparel for the marching arts. His boss is, you guessed it, a former trombone player in his band.
His students have performed with the All-County Band, All-District Band, All-State Honors Band, the Honor Band of America Symphonic Band, the Honor Band of America Marching Band and the Governor’s School Wind Ensemble and Orchestra. His students have been featured soloists with the Charlotte Symphony and Charlotte Youth Wind Ensemble. Solo and Ensemble performances by his students received "Superior" ratings at all grade levels of music. Former students have continued to become music educators as well as making careers for themselves in the music industry. He has supervised numerous student teachers during his high school teaching career.
Mr. Smith’s concert bands have performed under national educators Robert W. Smith, Larry Clark, Mark Camphouse, James Keene, Tom Fraschillo, Samuel Hazo, Paul Murtha, Sean O’Loughlin, Steven Bryant, David Holsinger and James Swearingen. His bands have received "Superior" ratings at all grade levels as well as commissioning and premiering compositions by James Swearingen - “Carolina Legend”, Larry Clark - “…and Shall We Never Cease to Wonder” and “S.C.D.B.A Fanfare”, Joseph Earp - “Coastal Fanfare” and “Stone Mountain Fanfare”, Steven Bryant - “The Machine Awakes”, John Mackey - “13”, and Robert W. Smith - “Salvation”. His wind ensemble performed at the North Carolina Music Educators Conference in 1997.
Percussion ensembles under Mr. Smith’s direction performed twice at the North Carolina Day of Percussion as well as commissioning published percussion ensemble compositions “minor Infraction” by Rick Dior and “Bluegrass Rondeau” by Ed Kiefer. He has also served as former Director of Percussion Studies with the Charlotte Youth Wind Ensemble.
His marching bands have received consistent "Superior" ratings at local, regional and national performances. As a prominent Bands of America participant, his bands were consistent finalists at the regional and national levels. His Central Cabarrus Marching Band was the last North Carolina band to make finals at the Bands of America Grand Nationals. Bands under his direction have performed for two governors of North Carolina and twice for the Carolina Panthers. as well as noted international composer, David Fanshawe. The Jazz Band at Robinson received "Superior" ratings at state Jazz festivals and regularly featured nationally accomplished jazz soloists.