Thompson Square Helps Award High School Students

“I was a drum major for three years. I took it pretty seriously,” reveals Shawna Thompson.

photo by Kendra Gene Motycka

Thompson Square helped sweeten the deal for a Tennessee high school band after the school's music program was awarded $10,000. The couple offered a three-song set for students at Frankllin High School in Franklin, Tenn.,  including the duo's singles "I Got You," "Glass" and "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not."

Band students at Franklin High School entered a contest sponsored by Cricket Wireless and local radio station 102.5 The Game to win $5,000 to support their music program. Students sent in audio of their school’s band performances, and the Top 10 were posted on the radio station's website for people to vote for their favorite. The Franklin High School band’s entry garnered 23 percent of total votes; some students even convinced Doobie Brothers member Michael McDonald to put a link for the contest on his Facebook page, garnering even more votes for the band.

Overwhelmed by the amount of support for the school’s music program, a Crickett Wireless representative announced that they would double the amount of the monetary prize, upping the amount to $10,000 to support the school’s music program. The announcement was welcomed with a standing ovation from the students, before announcers welcomed Shawna and Keifer Thompson to the stage. Between songs, Shawna and Keifer entertained student questions regarding the duo's high school days, musical inspirations—and where Keifer obtained the Wilson leather jacket he wore for the performance.

“I started in band in sixth grade,” former saxophone player Shawna  tells CountryWeekly.com of her own high school band experience. She noted that her high school band director was a significant influence on her career. “He was sort of like the [professor from the] movie Mr. Holland’s Opus,” says Shawna. “He dedicated his life to teaching kids and showing them how important music was. I was also a drum major for three years, so I was out there directing the marching band. So I took it pretty seriously in school.”

“I played trumpet and I didn’t read music,” Keifer recalls his own high school music days. “I was their first chair trumpet and wasn’t reading the music. I play more by ear. That aggravated [my teachers] and they pushed me to start reading music, and I really loved to learning to read music.” Still, Keifer had another passion—football—that vied for his affections. “Our high school coach basically gave me an ultimatum—play football and lead the team, or be a band guy. And so, sports was my whole life at that point, so I quit band against my better judgment.” Keifer still had a strong hand in music outside the marching band, playing in church and performing in a small brass ensemble before later pursuing music full-time.

“It’s cool to be able to do this,” Keifer says. "It's such a great way to give back."

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