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Former West High Student Plays for Pride of Southland Band at UT Knoxville

West High’s representation at University of Tennessee Knoxville grows as a former student, Carter Holtmann starts his freshman year this semester. Not only is he starting his freshman year but he is also playing for UT’s Pride of Southland band as a clarinet. This year is the largest this band has been, with 415 members, since 1869. Last year, Holtmann represented Morristown West in All State.


Holtmann expressed that his freshman year at UT is going “incredible so far,” mainly because of the new friends that he has made in the Pride of Southland. Holtmann is majoring in Electrical Engineering and Minoring in Applied Music. UT surprisingly wasn’t his first pick for college. “I actually thought for the longest time that I was going to go to ETSU because I liked the campus and the smaller population size,” Holtmann shares, “I then started thinking more about my major and future career and I realized that UT best suited the engineering field, their music building just became a college of music and it houses an amazing program, and their marching band is one of the best collegiate bands in the country.” Holtmann happens to be staying in Brown Hall which he explains, “is one of the better dorms on campus, and I love it.” Holtmann also favors it because it is very close to the College of Music and the marching rehearsal field.


Carter Holtmann in his UT band uniform

Along with Holtmann’s college experience, his time spent as a member of the Pride of Southland band is described to be going just as well. Being one of the 46 clarinets players, Holtmann underwent an arduous tryout process. Holtmann states, “because I was minoring in music, I had to audition to get into the school of music by playing some major scales and two prepared pieces in front of my professor.” They then recorded that audition and sent it to the marching band directors to review to see if he would get into the marching band. “If you aren’t minoring/majoring then you can just audition in front of the marching directors with a prepared piece,” Holtmann implied. Holtmann shared one of his experiences with playing for the Pride of Southland when UT played the Virginia Cavaliers in Nashville on Sept. 3rd with temperatures up to 117 degrees. “In Nashville the heat was pretty brutal, but out on the field during halftime it wasn’t as bad because we were up and moving,” Holtmann proclaimed. The “family environment” happens to be Holtmann’s favorite thing about the Pride of Southland, and his favorite thing about UT is the “Vol community.” Holtmann comments, “Everyone here is really nice and welcoming of each other(even more so in band).”


With all of Holtmann’s early accomplishments, he shares his biggest motivation. “My biggest motivation is my desire to be the best I can be at everything that I do,” states Holtmann, “whether it is academically, or musically, or my physical fitness, I always try to be the best possible version of myself.” Another form of his personal motivation is his family and friends that support and push him to be the best version of himself. Holtmann leaves Morristown West High students with advice for high school and college. “My advice for the high school students is to work hard now so that you are prepared for the workload that you will receive in college,” Holtmann continues, “Challenge yourself as much as you can with AP and Dual Enrollment classes. Not only can these classes count towards your major in college, but they also prepare for college level coursework and pacing, so take as many of these college level classes as you can handle.”


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