Charles Lewis is a Lecturer of Music and the flute studio instructor at the University of Tennessee in Martin. He is currently the principal flutist for the Jackson Symphony in West Tennessee, a member of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra in Kentucky, a substitute flutist for the Memphis Symphony, and regularly performs in the Cooper-Young Wind Quintet. He also maintains private flute studios in Martin and Memphis.
In his life outside of music, Lewis enjoys home projects and has an interest in animal rescue. He recently adopted a dog from a St. Louis based animal rescue group.
Lewis is involved in the Integrated Medicine program with the Jackson Symphony, where members of the symphony go into Jackson-Madison County Hospital and Kirkland Cancer Center and play for patients undergoing medical treatment.
“Each visit tugs at the heart as we play for patients who are fighting the battle of a lifetime. The stakes are high for these warriors and if we can provide them and/or their families just a moment of comfort through our music, it has been time well spent,” Lewis said.
Lewis enjoys the environment in UTM Music where each student is more than just a number, and the faculty have the opportunity to watch each student follow their dreams and travel along a selected career path.
“There is no greater feeling than teaching in a music department where the faculty are amazing artists, working under great leadership, and work together toward common goals. It's great to be a part of a university where the success of each and every student is a priority,” Lewis said.
Lewis has accomplished many personal goals during his time at UTM, including creating a flute studio at UTM that is more visible to area students and the community, incorporating a weekly technique class for students that teaches a methodic way of approaching flute technique, and incorporating a flute choir into the program. The UTM flute studio was invited to perform at the 2016 MidSouth conference, and has hosted many flutists as guest artists at UTM, including the upcoming masterclass by Karen Busler, principal flutist of the Memphis Symphony.
As a member of the LCD Faculty Woodwind Trio, Mr. Lewis (along with UTM faculty Dr. Doug Owens and Dr. Liz Aleksander) have represented UTM at major music conferences, including the International Clarinet Festival, The International Saxophone Symposium, and the MidSouth Flute Festival. They will be representing UTM as guest performers at the College Music Society Conference and the Music by Women Conference.
“This profession is a very difficult one. One must be passionate and determined and stay steadfast in the journey. One must ever give up on their dreams. With hard work and determination, anything is possible." It's all about the journey” Lewis said.
Rita Winter is an alumna of UT Martin with a bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance. Winter resides in a small community between Union City and Martin, and is the owner of The Music Place, where she teaches private voice and piano lessons.
“The UTM Music Department has always played an important part in my life from my first enrollment at the university in 1956 to my graduation in 1998. Those 42 years were spent as a wife and as a mother to four children while continuing to attend UTM part-time to study music,” Winter said.
Through participation in UTM’s Opera Theater and the UTM Vanguard Theater, she was able to fulfill her dreams of performing on stage while continuing to enjoy a home life with her family. She believes that the multi-talented professors in the Department of Music from various parts of the United States have brought the outside world to her doorstep through music.
Along with teaching, Winter currently performs with the UTM Singers, the First United Methodist Church Choir of Union City, and works as a collaborative pianist with three UTM vocal majors.
Winter says that students who are currently pursuing a degree in music should not give up in their journey. “There’s an exciting world out there waiting for you to enrich it. Remember that luck is where preparation meets opportunity,” she said.
Winter hopes to see Phase II become a reality soon. “How great it will be, not only for the students, but the community. Just think, we wouldn’t have to travel to Nashville or Memphis or anywhere to see and opera or a musical etc. We’d have our own Performing Arts Center!” she said.
Trice and Trevor Mayhall are brothers from Kenton, Tennessee, who both began their music education studies at UTM in the fall of 2013. They are both student teaching this semester with the intent to graduate in May. Trice is a member of the percussion studio, and Trevor is a member of the saxophone and double reed studio.
Trice has had the opportunity to travel internationally with the music department. He spends part of his downtime researching the culture and music of the countries he has visited. He has also had the opportunity to perform with the UTM Percussion Studio at the 2016 Percussive Arts Society International Convention and on the world premiere of pieces written by renowned composers, such as Ivan Trevino and Anders Koppel. Trice is a member of the University Committee and Drumset Committee for the Percussive Arts Society. After graduating, Trice plans to teach music before attending school to pursue a master's degree.
Trice credits his success at UTM to the music faculty. “The professors in the department have made this experience enjoyable because they will do anything to help a student succeed,” he said.
A memorable piece of advice given to Trice during his time at UTM was, “never be afraid to get out of your comfort zone to try something new.”
Trice’s strongest motivation to continue to pursue a career in music is seeing students finally accomplish musical tasks. “This is one of the best feelings as a teacher,” Trice said.
Trevor Mayhall continues to expand his knowledge of musical concepts and styles by studying saxophone pedagogy. He is also teaching private oboe lessons at his middle school placement. Since his time at UTM, Trevor has had the opportunity to study and perform on new instruments, such as the bassoon. “As a bassoonist, I have been able to play in the university Wind Ensemble on a new instrument, participate in a woodwind quintet, and even play with a touring bassoon trio!” he said.
Trevor received advice from professor Charles Lewis that has resonated with him throughout his time at UTM. “Make every note beautiful, always, and make sure the music is going somewhere.”
Trevor believes that his teaching experience has contributed to his happiness here at UTM. “I have been fortunate enough to work with students of all ages for many years now, and it makes me happy to see students succeed in music through hard work.”
As seniors in the UTM Music Education program, Trice and Trevor both provided advice for prospective students entering the music profession.
Trice advises prospective students to, “learn how to be organized, and have time management skills. These will help future students be successful, not only here at UTM, but also later in life.”
Trevor wants future students to step out of their comfort zone and try new things, as well as take advantage of the opportunities the Department of Music has to offer, such as playing in different ensembles. He also believes that students should make a strict schedule to stay organized.
“Being a music major is difficult, but not impossible if you stay on top of your work and take care of your health,” Trevor said.
Carla Wilson Field is a treasured musical member of the Martin community. Her current involvement in music includes playing the violin in the UTM Community Orchestra, singing in her church’s choir, performing in her church’s bell choir, occasionally playing violin for her church, directing the summer church’s vocal Men’s Ensemble, and being a member of the Philharmonic Music Guild.
Field retired as a violinist for the Paducah Symphony after 25 years and from the Jackson Symphony after 42 years. She now enjoys playing with the UTM Orchestra under the direction of Dr. John Oelrich and attending many of the UTM concerts and recitals. She also volunteers at WE Care and Reelfoot Rural Ministries.
Continuing to contribute and stay involved in musical activities at UTM is important to Field. “I am so amazed at the quality of the music faculty and students at UTM. I see the faculty going the extra mile with the students such as the travel experiences and certainly with preparing them for recitals which I enjoy so very much,” Field said.
Phase II is important to Field because of the size of many events hosted by all departments in Fine Arts. “With so many theatre productions and music events, some so very large like the recent Honor Bands, I see the need for a larger music hall,” she said.