UACCB student looking to make his musical mark

Batesville native Addison Strother started playing music in elementary school but it wasn’t until he began to play trombone in junior high that realized it was what he wanted to do as a career.

“When I was in sixth grade, we went to the band room to try out the different instruments. I had too much of an overbite for saxophone and my embouchure wasn’t right for trumpet, but when I tried trombone it just came naturally. I thought, ‘Maybe I should give this a try,’” he said.

Band gave Strother’s high school years focus and he excelled at competitions. During a trip to Six Flags, he received a prestigious award as a result of his band director writing an essay about Strother’s growth and progress as a band member.

“They only award it to one student each year. I was blown away that he wrote the essay about me,” Strother said.

After graduation, Strother was considering pursuing a music degree at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro or the University of Central Arkansas. His mother, Trisha Venegas, convinced him to attend the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville first and then transfer to a four-year school. “It’s a huge cost savings and there are transfer scholarships available,” Strother said.

His mother is also attending UACCB. She graduated from the practical nursing program and is currently in the registered nursing program. “I was going to be one of the first ones in our family to attend college, but she started taking classes my senior year of high school. She beat me too it,” Strother said. He said he likes to stop by the Student Success Center where Venegas tutors PN students to visit with his mom during the day. “It’s beneficial being here at the same time with her. She asks how my classes are going and keeps me accountable.”

Strother said when he made the decision to attend UACCB, he knew he needed to find an outlet to keep his musical abilities sharp. He contacted Montgomery Hill, the director of bands at Lyon College, about playing with Lyon’s band. As the band program at Lyon has grown, Strother has played with the marching band, concert band and jazz band. He said he is planning to transfer to Lyon after he completes his associate’s degree at UACCB. “I want to get a degree in music education and music composition. I’d love to be a band director, but I also want to create music. I’d love to compose scores for movies like Hans Zimmer,” he said. Zimmer has composed scores for numerous films including “The Dark Knight,” “Gladiator” and “The Lion King.”

Strother is making the most of his college experience and is an active participant on campus. He is involved in TRIO and the Multicultural Student Association. He said he enjoys playing ping pong in the Bandit Burrow and has competed in the annual ping pong tournament on campus. Strother also fills the role of Bob the Bandit, the college’s mascot, at events. He balances his campus activities and coursework with his part-time job at the AMC Classic Batesville 7 theater.