Graduate Teaching Assistants

Matt Meadows

Matt Meadows remains in-demand as a soloist, chamber musician and clinician. In recent years, he has earned top prizes in numerous solo competitions. In 2019, he was awarded second-prize in the International Horn Competition of America University Division. Most recently, he was named the “National Winner” in the MTNA Young Artist Competition, winner of the International Phoenix Music Competition for Horn Duos, winner of the 2021 Southeast Horn Workshop Graduate Solo Competition, and winner of the 2021 Kappa Kappa Psi Biennial Solo Competition.

In addition to his passion for solo performance, Matthew is an active chamber musician. He is the principal horn of the Capstone Horn Quartet, also known as “Tater and the Tots.” Since the group’s inception in 2017, the Capstone Horn Quartet has been awarded first-prize in both the Southeast Horn Workshop Quartet Competition and the International Horn Society Summer Symposium Amateur Quartet Competition.

Matthew is currently a graduate teaching assistant with the University Bands at The University of Alabama, where he is earning his Doctor of Musical Arts in Horn Performance under the instruction of Charles “Skip” Snead and also working towards a Secondary Concentration in Wind Conducting. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Alabama.

As a Graduate Teaching Assistant with the University of Alabama Band Department, Matt assists in daily operations for the band program, supervising the 400 students of the Million Dollar Band during performances and trips, and assisting with the planning and execution of the Crimson Cavalcade of Bands, Alabama Honor Bands, and Summer Crimson Music Camps.

Matt is a member of the National Association for Music Education, the National Band Association, the International Horn Society, and Kappa Kappa Psi – Nu Nu Chapter.

Chris Lawhorne

Christopher Lawhorne grew up in the Atlanta (GA) metropolitan area and has been a dedicated musician virtually all his life. His interest in musical composition led him to develop a strong skill set both as a percussionist and pianist, and his first work was performed while he still was a student in high school. He thrives on innovation and design and uses those elements to bring his compositions and performing ensembles success. Mr. Lawhorne attended Reinhardt University where he developed and crafted his compositional skills while receiving his Bachelor of Music Education and Instrumental Conducting. During his degree work Mr. Lawhorne studied with Dr. David Gregory, Dr. George Lucktenberg, and Richard Bell. His student teaching experience gave him the opportunity to work extensively with high school students where the results of his teaching and rehearsing brought the Intermediate Band their very first superior rating at Georgia Music Educators Association’s Large Group Performance Evaluation. While at Reinhardt University, several of Mr. Lawhorne’s works were performed under the baton of Dr. David Gregory, and he was given the opportunity to conduct one of his orchestral compositions in concert. Mr. Lawhorne had several percussion ensemble pieces performed at Reinhardt’s annual High School Honor Band Clinics. The guest conductor of one of these honor bands was Dr. Lowell Graham who offered Chris the opportunity to serve as a Teaching Assistant while pursuing his Master’s Degree at the University of
Texas in El Paso.

His degree work in Musical Composition gave Mr. Lawhorne the opportunity of additional course work in Instrumental Conducting. In addition to his conducting studies, Mr. Lawhorne was tasked with directing the UTEP Concert Band. He opened ensemble membership to local High School students and as a result, the combined personnel completed a cycle of four very successful performances – an accomplishment never before achieved at UTEP. After the completion of his course of study, Mr. Lawhorne was granted, with Honors, a Degree in Instrumental Conducting with emphasis in Musical
Composition. Upon completion of his Master’s, he accepted the position of Associate Director of Bands of Chapin High School in El Paso, Texas and spent six years with the program before beginning his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Wind Conducting under of instruction of Dr. Kenneth Ozzello, which he is currently working on.

During his tenure at Chapin he helped bring the Chapin Band program significant success. For the first time in seven years the Chapin Marching Band competed in finals at a national level contest, and the second Jazz Band was awarded third place at one of the largest jazz contests in the region. Mr. Lawhorne’s direction of the Symphonic Band, comprised mostly of Freshmen, earned superior ratings for the first time in the Chapin Band history. Additionally, many of his students participated annually at the state Solo and Ensemble contest where most earned Superior ratings. Chris also founded and served as Executive Director of Sun City Independent, the only Winter Guard International Independent Percussion Ensemble within 300 miles of El Paso. Mr. Lawhorne guest conducted Reinhardt University at the Georgia Music Educators Association state convention and has conducted at numerous regional band clinics. He hopes soon to see the publication of his compositions as he wishes to share his talents with ensembles around the nation.

Sam Sager

Sam Sager currently serves on the adjunct instrumental faculties of Vestavia Hills High School, Pizitz Middle School,  Simmons Middle School, and the Mountain Brook Schools in Birmingham, AL.

Sam completed his Bachelor’s degree in Instrumental and Vocal Music Education from Auburn University and Master’s degree in Instrumental Music Education from Samford University. Currently, he is pursuing the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Wind Conducting at The University of Alabama. He has studied under notable conductors such as: LaToya Webb, Rick Good, William Powell, and Demondrae Thurman. Additionally, he holds certifications in Orff-Schulwerk.

Sam has privately studied composition with world renowned composer Johnnie Vinson and three-time Emmy Award winning composer Julie Giroux.  As an active and versatile musician he has composed and arranged music for marching and concert bands, choral ensembles, and chamber groups.

While studying with Julie Giroux, Sam also has the honor and privilege of serving as her assistant. In this capacity, he is able to assist in the facilitation, performance, and premiere of Julie’s works with notable wind ensemble groups such as: The Dallas Winds, The Musashino Academia Musicae Wind Ensemble (Tokyo, Japan), “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band, The U.S Army Band “Pershing’s Own”, The U.S. Air Force Band, The U.S. Army Field Band, as well as, numerous public school, collegiate, and community ensembles.

In addition to composing and working as an educator, Sam regularly serves as an adjudicator for drum majors, marching bands,  and concert ensembles.  He has also served as both a judge and coordinator for the special talent and performing arts competitions for The National Beta Club at both state and national levels.

Sam’s professional affiliations include, The National Association for Music Education (NAfME), The National Band Association (NBA), Alabama Music Educators Association (AMEA), and Kappa Kappa Psi, the national honorary service organization for university bands

Jackson Parker

Jackson Parker completed his Bachelor’s degree in Instrumental Music Education at Western Kentucky University. While attending WKU, Jackson performed as principal trombone in numerous ensembles including the Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra.  Additionally, Jackson won the Kent Campbell Award which recognizes leadership and musicianship.

While in the Kentucky area, Jackson was a pursued trombonist and instructor. He served as a low brass instructor for various marching bands and performed with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra.

Currently, Jackson serves as a graduate teaching assistant with the University Bands at the University of Alabama, where he is pursuing a Masters in Trombone Performance under the instruction of Dr. Jon Whitaker. In this role, Jackson works with Million Dollar Band daily while also assisting in daily operations of the University of Alabama Band Department.