News & Events
MHC Alumna Fran Shelton Featured in National Publication
According to Fran Shelton, it takes more than one person to add up to the kind of success that the Hendersonville High School band has experienced under her leadership for the past 24 years.
“It’s not one person that makes it happen,” she said. “It’s parents, administration, faculty and a great high school. Having that kind of support group is the reason we’ve been so successful.”
Hendersonville’s award-winning band has not only continued a streak of 60 consecutive superior ratings at the N.C. Concert Festival (since 1926), but it has taken first place in competitions at such famed locations as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Boston Symphony Hall and Chicago Symphony Hall. This March, the band has been invited to travel to competition in Los Angeles.
Such success may, in fact, be due to an extensive support system. But it was Fran Shelton and her students who were featured recently in the nationwide publication School Band & Orchestra. And it was Shelton herself, pictured in front of Hendersonville historic high school building, who adorned the magazine cover.
Shelton, a Mars Hill College alumna, received bachelor’s degrees in both music education and elementary education in 1982 before going to Appalachian State University to obtain her master’s degree in instrumental music.
Shelton said it was the high quality music program that drew her to Mars Hill as a college student in the first place, and she was not disappointed. At Mars Hill, she said the faculty was “pretty darned amazing,” but she felt particularly fortunate to have had professors like Ray Babelay and Wayne Pressley to feed her love for band music and guide her future career.
“Mars Hill College was such a wonderful impact on my life and I have been able to touch so many children with the foundations and high standards that Mars Hill College taught me,” she said.
After 30 years of teaching (and 24 years of that as band director at HHS), Shelton said she still calls on what she learned at Mars Hill to make her the teacher she is.
“I cherish my years at Mars Hill College and would certainly give any success I have had in my career to the outstanding faculty that taught me while I was a student at Mars Hill. It has been so exciting to be recognized at a national level with our band program at Hendersonville, but I give so much credit to Mars Hill College for teaching me to be a "teacher." I still love going to work each day and I still love being with high school students sharing the love of music,” she said.
Read the School Band & Orchestra story here.