• Avery Payne-Director of Bands 

    Avery Payne is in his first year as the Director of Bands of North Forsyth High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Originally from Winston-Salem, Mr. Payne graduated from Ronald Reagan High School in 2012. At Reagan, he was involved with all facets of the band program and provided leadership as a Drum Major of the “Band of Raiders” for two years.

    After High School, Mr. Payne pursued a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of South Carolina where he graduated Magna Cum Lade. While at Carolina, Mr. Payne gained significant performance experience on clarinet with the University of South Carolina Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Winds as well as the Palmetto Concert Band, all while taking private lessons with Professor Joseph Eller. Feature performances with these ensembles include the American Bandmasters Association Conference with the Wind Ensemble in 2014 and the College Band Directors National Association Conference with the Palmetto Concert Band in 2016. Additionally, Mr. Payne has also gained brass experience by playing Sousaphone with the “Carolina Marching Band” and the “Concocktion” Pep Bands.
    Mr. Payne brings valuable prior teaching experiences to North Forsyth from working with award-winning high school ensembles in North and South Carolina. Some of his previous experiences include time on staff of the Reagan High School Band Of Raiders, time as a woodwind and marching specialist with the White Knoll High School Marching Band and student teaching with the Spring Valley High School Band Program.

     At the elementary and middle school levels, Mr. Payne taught both at Deerfield Elementary School as a 5th Grade Band Instructor and at E. L. Wright Middle School as a student teacher. In addition, Mr. Payne has spent five years at The Salvation Army’s Summer Music Conservatory in Winston-Salem providing both music theory and instrumental instruction to students from economically challenged backgrounds ranging in grade level from elementary through high school.

    Professionally Mr. Payne is a member of the National Association of Music Education, the North Carolina Music Educators Association, the North Carolina Band Directors Association, and of Kappa Kappa Psi the National Honorary Band Fraternity. 

    Mary Kate Choat- Assistant Director 

    Mrs. Mary Kathryn Bowman Choat is the director of bands at Hanes Magnet School in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System.  Mrs. Choat grew up in Winston-Salem, NC and actually first began her musical career at Hanes Middle School many years ago.  Mrs. Choat received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Appalachian State University where she played on the ASU Women’s Varsity Golf Team.  Upon graduation, she attended the University of Texas and received her Master of Music degree in Trombone Performance.  While at the University of Texas, Mrs. Choat studied with Dr. Nathaniel Brickens and traveled with UT Trombone Choir to Paris to perform in the 2012 International Trombone Festival.  
    Since her return to Hanes in 2012, Mrs. Choat’s bands have consistently earned “Superior” ratings at the Northwest North Carolina District Music Performance Adjudication events.  Additionally, students under her direction have earned notably large numbers of seats in the All-County, All-District, and All-State Concert Bands as well as Western Region Jazz and All-State Jazz Ensembles.  She currently serves as a Middle School Band Representative for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Bandmasters Association as well as a Middle School Band Representative for the Northwest District North Carolina Bandmasters Association.  During the 2015-2016 school year, Mrs. Choat was awarded the prestigious American School Band Directors Association’s (ASBDA) Encore Award.
    In addition to her placement at Hanes Magnet School, Mrs. Choat performs regularly throughout North Carolina and is a member of Winston-Salem's only "big band" - Camel City Jazz Orchestra.  In her spare time, you can find Mrs. Choat and her husband Colin running, biking, and/or swimming the streets and pools of Winston-Salem

    Joshua Dickens - Assistant Director 

    Joshua Dickens is the Director of Bands at Northwest Middle School in Winston Salem, NC. He currently directs four different groups at the school and recently took his Eighth Grade Band to the “City of the Arts Band Festival”.

    Mr. Dickens has earned a Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Western Carolina University. During his time at WCU he studied with Brad Ulrich, Larry Black, David Starnes, Bob Buckner, Will Peebles and Clif Dodson. Mr. Dickens studied Jazz Improvisation from Pavel Wlosok and performed lead trumpet in the WCU Jazz Ensemble.

    After graduating in 2013 and prior to his arrival at Northwest, Mr. Dickens joined Edgecombe County Public Schools and served as Directors of Bands at Pattillo Middle School. The Band nearly doubled in size during his tenure there.

    Mr. Dickens started his Drum Corps Career in 2011 with Carolina Crown. That year the hornline received the “Jim Ott Award” for Excellence in Brass and placed 4th overall. In 2013 he worked on Visual Staff with the Music City Drum and Bugle Corps under Nick Scottella. In the summer of 2015 Mr. Dickens was a part of the Brass Staff with the Carolina Gold Drum and Bugle Corps.

    Mr. Dickens’ professional affiliations include the National Association for Music Education, North Carolina Music Educators Association, the International Trumpet Guild and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. He currently resides in Winston Salem, NC.

    Douglas Rowe- Percussion Instructor 

    Douglas Rowe is a native of Hickory, NC. Currently, he is pursuing his Master’s Degree in Percussion Performance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts located in Winston-Salem, NC. Recently, Doug graduated from Wingate University with his Bachelor’s in Music Education.

    Over the last four years, Doug has contributed a lot to education. He currently serves as the Front Ensemble Instructor at Piedmont High School located in Monroe, NC. This August is his fourth year on staff. While at Wingate, he also served as the Middle School Percussion Instructor at Cuthbertson Middle School located in Waxhaw, NC. Prior to this appointment, he was named a Percussion Instructor for the Cuthbertson High School Marching Band during the 2015 marching band season. He serves as a Percussion Consultant and Percussion Arranger at his Alma Mater, Hickory High School located in Hickory, NC. Previously, he served as a Percussion Instructor for their Marching Band during the Fall of 2012. Doug also teaches private lessons on ALL things percussion as well as piano. 

    Doug is very excited to be joining the marching band staff at North Forsyth High School for the 2016 marching band season.

    Doug is a member of the Percussive Arts Society, North Carolina Music Educators Association, andthe National Association for Music Education (NAfME).

    Doug Rowe is a dedicated musician, educator, and arranger/composer. He is very much involved with the percussion activity at large. He strives to give his students the same opportunities he has had throughout the past years.

    Shakir Ballentine- Percussion Instructor  

    Shakir Ballantyne was raised in Atlanta, Georgia and is currently a percussion student at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts studying under professor John Beck. While at UNCSA Shakir has performed in concert with the Jazz Band, Wind ensemble, and Symphony Orchestra. He has also served as a percussionist in opera productions with the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute as well as the ballet departments production of the Nutcracker. He is currently a percussionist with the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra. As an aspiring educator Shakir has previously worked with Atkins High School Marching Band and gives percussion and piano lessons at the Separk Music Company. Recently, he became a percussionist with the 440th Army Band in Raleigh, North Carolina.

    Catherine Perez- Color Guard Instructor