Hayes’ Hurley aims to help others through music
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Senior year hasn’t hit Melissa Hurley yet. It is something the Hayes High School senior said she is thankful for as she does not want to slack off.
But senior year has already seen the closure of some things for Melissa — marching band season is over as is bowling season. Though there are ample music opportunities yet in the remainder of the school year that Melissa will be involved in. There is pit to play in for the upcoming musical, “Legally Blonde,” and also state and district contests for orchestra where she plays trumpet, and concert band where she plays French horn. Melissa also plays trumpet in jazz band, so there are lots of practices in her schedule.
She began her music career with the viola in the fourth grade. In the fifth grade, she began playing the French horn, but not because she wanted to. Melissa wanted to play the alto sax but was told her fingers were not long enough. She had concerns about the French horn as she was told it was difficult to play and required practicing two hours a day.
Yet eight years later, she still plays the instrument. She has also had two and a half years on the viola, is in her first year on trumpet and played the mellophone all four years in marching band.
Hayes band teacher Rolf Remlinger said besides Melissa’s performing in school groups, she also participates in solo and ensemble contest “challenging herself with class ‘A’ pieces the last two years.”
Melissa has the dedication and commitment to succeed at all levels, he said.
“Melissa is one of the nicest, most dependable students I have ever had in the band program. This also transfers to everything she does with Girl Scouts, 4-H, bowling, orchestra, pit orchestra, honors bands, solo and ensemble, homecoming and Tri-M, to name just a few,” he said.
Remlinger said Melissa is very involved. “She volunteers and works with numerous organizations giving of her time and ability unselfishly. She has taken leadership training (George Parks Drum Major Academy) to help the marching band, on her own time in the summer. Melissa regularly works with the younger students to help them in and outside the band setting. ‘Dependable’ would be a word that I would use to describe Melissa as would all her teachers, coaches, leaders and adults that have worked with her.”
Not surprisingly, Melissa sees music in her future as well.
It was just last year when the idea came to her from a close family friend who is affiliated with a developmental disability school. The friend was talking about a music therapy position. Melissa realized this would be the perfect direction for her: She could tie her love of music in with helping others.
There are four schools that offer music therapy programs; Melissa has narrowed those down to two — the University of Dayton and Ohio University. She has been accepted into both schools and is now in the audition process to be accepted into the music departments. Her final decision, she said, will depend on the scholarships offered.
Melissa said she will probably pursue this area as she likes to work with children, which is evident from her work with Big Brother Big Sister, Girl Scouts and 4-H.
She began Girl Scouts in the first grade and over the years has earned the Bronze, Silver (for starting a Daisy Troop) and Gold (to raise awareness for the Pilot Dog program) awards. She is also a Girl Scout COSI volunteer.
More recently, Melissa began working with Big Brother Big Sister
“It’s fun to work with the younger kids at the school SAC program,” she said.
Melissa also fosters puppies for the humane society. She has the puppies for two-week periods for socializing.
“I still remember our first foster, Molly. She was gangly; I think she was a Great Dane mix. She would howl at night,” Melissa said, smiling at the memory.
Melissa is also very involved in 4-H. She facilitates the CARTEENS program once a month on Saturdays. She also helps with the 4-H awareness team which visits area elementary schools to meet with younger students and discuss the 4-H program and has been a 4-H camp counselor for the past four years. Melissa also went to Washington, D.C., as a delegate for Citizenship Washington Focus and has been on the junior fair board for the past three years.
Since her second year in 4-H, she has shown her dog, Murphy the poodle, competing last year in Showman of Showmen with him.
“He’s a prissy poodle. He does not fully sit because he hates getting dirty,” Melissa said with a laugh.
Among her other projects has been nutrition, small animals, horses, welding and shooting.
Laryssa Hook, extension educator with 4-H and Youth Development, said “Melissa has a real passion for teaching and helping others. Through her 4-H involvement, I’ve seen this most as she has raised pilot dogs and in her role as a 4-H camp counselor. Whether she is in the middle of a creek and teaching campers about stream study or helping a younger member learn to train their dog, she demonstrates a sincere want to help others learn. Even with her many involvements in school, Girl Scouts and 4-H, she dedicates her time to doing things that matter. The community is a much better place because of the many difference service projects she has been a part of.”
Melissa offers the following advice to others.
“Be involved. Don’t sit out thinking I can’t do it,” she said, adding, “Don’t procrastinate. As you go through the years, it is harder to get work turned in. Have fun.”
And for those freshman considering marching band, she said, “Definitely be in it. You make friends at band camp, so you have friends already when school starts. You will have a whole community, a family of friends in your freshman year.”
Melissa is the daughter of Leigh Betts-Hurley of Delaware and Ted Hurley of London.