Austin Peay rocks with Roane County High

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Starkey ties helped seal the deal

By Cindy Simpson

Austin Peay State University’s band sat in the visitors stands Friday at Roane County High School, but band members made it clear they supported their host school.

Austin Peay band members, including former Roane County High student Shelley Starkey, cheered loudly for the Kingston Yellow Jackets, who fell to Grace Christian.
“It is really exciting,” she said. “I feel kind of famous. Everybody keeps saying, ‘Hey Shelley, how have you been?’”
“I cannot wait to be on the field with my high school band,” she added.
Her brother, Sam, a Roane County High senior, was excited to be with his sister.
“It will be like the good old days,” he said.
Shelley influenced him into joining the band.
“She told me band was a great experience,” Sam said.
Austin Peay band director John Schnettler said the band had been looking for a place near Knoxville and a chance to build a relationship with a talented high school marching band.
Shelley’s ties with Roane County High played a role in his decision.
“We were really interested in getting the name of Austin Peay and the Governor’s Own Marching Band out here to East Tennessee because we mainly have students from Middle Tennessee,” Schnettler said. “Roane County got on our radar because of Shelley Starkey, and also I met Mr. (Zach) Williamson’s daughters through some East Tennessee Band and Orchestra events and so they were telling me about Roane County band.”
Williamson is the Kingston school’s band director.
“We would really love as many students from Roane County band in Austin Peay’s band as possible. We are always looking for more and better students, and I think Roane County is the place to get them from,” Schnettler said.
Roane County High band members loved the opportunity to perform with Austin Peay.
“We never really played for a college band before,” said Andrew Lane, a senior. “It gives us a chance to show off what we can do as a high school band.”
Adam Roberts, a senior trumpet player, was glad to be reunited with Shelley Starkey, who had been in the trumpet division with him while at Roane County High School.
Many of Roane County’s students have went on to play music collegiately, including in the University of Tennessee’s Pride of the Southland, Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee Technological  University, Carson-Newman University and more.
Current Roane County High School students plan to play in college as well.