New band director focuses on inclusion


Photo of Chagrin’s Band directors Cassidy Reed, Robert Sobnosky and Alexander Walker Courtesy of Official CFHS Band instagram @cfevsband

CFHS’ band marched off the field filled with excitement after their electric performance while all eyes were on the new band director’s approach to the future. 

Ms. Casidy Reed is taking over for Mrs. Shoenfelt after she retired last year. It is clear that Ms. Reed is eager to create her own program. 

Growing up, Ms. Reed said she’s always felt connected to music. 

“I’ve been playing trumpet for like 15 years,” Ms. Reed said. 

In high school she said that her favorite part of the band was the community and family atmosphere that being in a marching band brings. 

She also explained that this connection with music led her to a music education degree. After graduating  from Baldwin Wallace Ms. Reed continued on to earn a Master’s degree from Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in New York. 

Ms. Reed wanted to be a music teacher especially because of the inclusive and energetic environment that comes along with it. Knowing that she could create a space like that for students meant a lot for her.

 Ms. Reed said that the start of the year had been going very well. 

“Everyone is really welcoming,” Ms. Reed explained. “Football games are very fun.” 

Students in the band also appreciate Miss Reed’s teaching style. 

“She is very energetic and optimistic which helps bring the band up when we’re tired after long marching days,” said junior Phoebe Gleeson. 

Ms. Reed explained  that the interview process was very interesting and different during the pandemic. Last year, after two rounds of Zoom interviews, she was chosen to move on to the final round, where she would teach high school band for a day. 

“I had about 70 kids all in the auditorium, which was kinda crazy like that many kids all right away.”  Ultimately, she was a fan favorite and was hired. 

Ms. Reed knows how to keep herself busy. While in search for a creative outlet during the pandemic, she created a podcast called Music HERstory where she virtually interviews female artists, vocalist, musicians on equity issues in the music industry.  

“There tends to be a lot of gender discrepancies with different band instruments,” she explains “so I decided to start this podcast to have conversations with professionals in the field about some of their experiences.” 

Ms. Reed said that only 15% of high school band directors are women. It is clear that she will be focusing on equity and inclusion in Chagrin’s program.

Ms. Reed looks forward to the future of CFHS’ band program. She runs all of the band’s social media accounts, where content from football games and practices are posted weekly. She explains that there is a big importance in keeping the accounts entertaining and active. “I want younger kids at Chagrin that are in a band to see what the older kids are doing,” she explained. “I want them to stick with the band.” One of her main long term goals is growing the music program at Chagrin and getting many students more involved. 

For this school year, Ms. Reed has chosen to focus on students’ emotional and mental health. 

“I’ve noticed that a lot of students are feeling kind of overwhelmed right now,” she said.

 In band class, she’s focusing on making sure everyone is getting reacclimated correctly in the program and rebuilding the community environment.  

“I think that’s one of the benefits of being in a music class,” she stated. “It’s developing that sense of community for sure.”