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Thanks to Teachers: Cliff Dodson

Take a look around the band room at Cane Creek Middle School, and you can see the tradition of success.  Past bands have played at Carnegie Hall, Disney World and Washington D.C., lead by band director Cliff Dodson.  (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Take a look around the band room at Cane Creek Middle School, and you can see the tradition of success. Past bands have played at Carnegie Hall, Disney World and Washington D.C., lead by band director Cliff Dodson.

"We have some who have gone on to be performers in the Boston Symphony, and other places like that," Dodson proudly said. "We have kids who are in recording studios in New York and they are playing professionally in New Orleans."

Seventh-graders Annabelle Rhodes and Jacob Carson knew they wanted to be part of the Cane Creek band. Both have family members who are Dodson's former students.

"My cousin, he used to be play drums in our church, and I wanted to take after him, and he came to this school and this class," Jacob said.

Annabelle, Jacob, and a few other seventh-graders meet in a small percussion class to get ready for an upcoming concert.

"The most rewarding thing about what I do is taking a kid who has never played an instrument before, and by the time they leave eighth grade, they're very proficient at what they've accomplished," Dodson said.

But becoming a musician is not always easy as kids navigate the ups and downs of middle school.

"It's tough until you get the hang of it," Jacob said of his first year at Cane Creek.

Dodson said music and the band have helped keep many of his students on the right path at what can be a vulnerable time in their lives.

"I've seen it many, many, many times in my profession, that kids find something they can really hold on to," he said.

"You learn a lot how to work with other people in a group, and how to do your part and be responsible for what you need to do," Annabelle explained. Jacob said being a band member has helped him adjust to middle school.

Now, in his 16th year as Cane Creek's band director, Dodson is looking forward to helping more musicians hit the right notes for their lives.

"Connections are really powerful," Dodson said. "So, it's not always about trophies and plaques and things like that."

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