South Charlotte

April 28, 2010

When trumpet sounded, he responded

Music is Jamie Hood's life.

Music is Jamie Hood's life.

The Blakeney resident is a trained classical trumpet player who studied in Paris and Germany.

Upon graduation, Hood spent 11 years as a freelance musician across Europe before eventually moving to the U.S.

His most recent move - in November 2007 - took the 32-year-old musician and his family from Houston to the Ballantyne area so he could accept a position with the Salvation Army.

"I'm responsible for developing music programs and music groups within each of the roughly 60 churches that the Salvation Army has across North and South Carolina," Hood said.

Under that umbrella of responsibility fall several youth groups, adult organizations and general assembly music programs. The groups welcome musicians of all skill levels who would like to contribute to Sunday morning worship services throughout the Carolinas.

"Most of my job is to be a resource, so people know about these programs. I don't know if I have a free weekend from now until August," said Hood, who will be busy traveling to promote the Salvation Army through various events.

The largest component of Hood's job is to create and strengthen ties within the local communities served by the Salvation Army so chosen leaders can continue his work when he isn't around.

As an example, Hood tells of his wife's weekly work commuting to the Durham area to teach piano to 18 students.

"That's fine, to start that program off," Hood said, "but it's important, in the next couple of weeks, that we find a teacher in that area who can then take on that position, either as a volunteer or (someone) who we contract, just as a normal music teacher would do. That would then allow us to concentrate on another area."

Currently, Hood is gearing up for this summer's five-week music conservatory program, to be held at the Salvation Army camp in Denton. One week caters to interested students age 7 to 12. The remaining four weeks are for kids age 12 to 18 years old.

The camp will be intense, Hood said. "They will play roughly four to five hours per day during that time. We bring in guests. ... It's not a competition, but if you were to compare it to any other normal type of band program, the caliber of faculty that works with our kids is definitely superior."

In his free time - what little he has - Hood also serves as conductor and music director for the Ballantyne Chamber Orchestra, an organization launched in 2009. His involvement came after meeting the orchestra's founder Josh Diaz, a local trombone player, while both were participating in a Salvation Army men's retreat.

Diaz invited Hood to play with his newly developed Ballantyne Brass Quintet. As they collaborated, Diaz eventually recruited Hood for his fledgling chamber orchestra project.

"Josh has been instrumental in terms of bringing this (to fruition)," Hood said.

"I can put a concept together and give it some thought, but I just don't have time to do a lot of the legwork. But Josh has been more than instrumental in putting (the chamber orchestra) together, and has allowed me the luxury of doing the rehearsals and the concerts and not have to worry about anything else, which is great. It's definitely a joint venture, and it's something we're very excited about bringing to Ballantyne."

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