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Chris Cole


Nominated by Leigh Anne Fulton Simmons

Chris Cole

Christopher H. Cole, retired Kings Mountain High School band director, will be inducted Sunday into the prestigious N.C. Bandmasters Hall of Fame at the annual N.C. Music Educators Association In-Service Conference in Winston-Salem.

The award is considered to be the highest honor bestowed by his colleagues.

Cole was KMHS band director for 29 years where his ensemble received 28 "Superior" ratings in Grade VI literature and produced a number of alumni that are music teachers and professional musicians.

Cole is the grandson of the late D.C. Cole, who was a bandmaster and musical pioneer from Rutherford County and a member of the North Carolina Bandmasters Hall of Fame. He attended Western Carolina University, earning a B.S. and a Masters degree in Music Education. He began teaching in Kings Mountain in 1976, completing a distinguished career and retiring in 2005.

He presently teaches at Piedmont Community Charter School, a Challenge Foundation Academy in Gastonia. He has served as Vice-Chairman of the South Central District Bandmasters Association and received their "Award of Excellence" in 1992. He was the 2005 North Carolina recipient of the National Band Association's "Citation of Excellence."

Cole's professional affiliations include membership in the NCMEA, MENC, ASBDA, Kappa Kappa Psi Honorary Band Fraternity and the International Trumpet Guild. He plays trumpet in the Winthrop/Carolinas Wind Orchestra and performs with Continental Divide, a Charlotte based Motown/Rhythm and blues band.

Cole has served as conductor/guest clinician/adjudicator for numerous All County and All District Bands in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia and Arizona. He is active as a guest adjudicator at Carowinds for their annual Concert, Jazz and Orchestra Festival. Over the years, Mr. Cole's present musical performances have taken him to France, Switzerland, Germany, England, Belgium, Austria, Holland, Australia, Ireland and Spain.

In nominating Cole for the award,

Leigh Anne Fulton Simmons, band teacher at Lufkin Road Middle School in Apex, nominated Cole for the award saying that "Chris Cole perpetuated the legacy of musical excellence in the Kings Mountain schools."

"Mr. Cole was extremely dedicated to the KMHS band program and played a tremendous role in helping it flourish," said Simmons, adding that "the extent of his dedication was such that soon after his hip replacement surgery he arranged to have an ambulance take him to the winter concert on a stretcher back stage while his wife, Sarah, directed "Incidental Suite." Simmons said that "witnessing this made a great impact on me and others which demonstrated his sincere dedication to his students."

"Chris's work ethic is beyond reproach," said former KM Supt. Dr. Bob McRae. "He not only put in the time needed to lead a great band program but efficiently used all the hours worked. While that certainly led to the development of a polished performing group, it also spoke to his high level of organization and the way he taught his students routines as well as musical skill of a polished performing ensemble. Practices and performances always demonstrated what can be accomplished when someone who knows his field enable those under his tutelage to achieve in an exemplary fashion. The lofty goals that Chris set in his classroom continues to be guides in life for those who have graduated from his program."

Simmons added, "Mr. Cole's influence is reflected in the rich musical tradition of the Kings Mountain Bands and in the lives of his students."

"I have been very fortunate to be blessed throughout my career with great mentors and role models," Mr. Cole stated. "I'm very honored to join my grandfather, D.C. Cole, and two previous band directors at Kings Mountain, Joe Hedden and Donald Deal, as a member of the N.C. Bandmasters Hall of Fame."

Taken from The Kings Mountain Herald.

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