Frenship grad continues to study music

A 2002 Frenship High School graduate’s involvement in music has continued to open doors for her over the last decade since graduation.

Joy Harris, who performed at the Frenship Independent School District convocation in August, said she started her musical training at age 8 with piano lessons from Candy Sisson, who still teaches choir in Frenship at Terra Vista Middle School.

Harris joined the Frenship Middle School band as a sixth grader, and joined the choir a year later.

With her piano background, she was tapped to play percussion. She placed in the All-State band, and competed in the Texas State band and choir solo and ensemble competitions.

“In high school, I was kind of a music nerd,” Harris said with a laugh at a local coffee shop.

Now, she is working to finish up a degree in percussion performance at Texas Tech, but she admits to being sidetracked by a love affair with another instrument — the bass guitar.

She picked up an electric bass between her junior and senior year of high school, when the praise band she was in suddenly had more need of a bassist than a keyboardist.

“That started a whole ‘nother world,” she said.

Harris now considers herself equally a bassist and a percussionist. Each instrument has given opportunities to her.

As a member of Texas Tech’s performing ensemble, she has traveled to New York City, California, Mexico, Italy and Trinidad.

“All the Tech stuff has opened so many doors,” Harris said.

She has learned to play steel drums at Tech, and hopes to compete at Panorama, called “the ultimate steel pan competition,” held annually in Trinidad and Tobago.

Last winter, she performed on her bass guitar on a Caribbean cruise ship, spending her days on the beaches of Saint Martin, Saint Thomas, Saint Croix, Saint John, the Bahamas and Labadee, Haiti, and her nights performing for tourists on the ship.

It was difficult being away from her family in Lubbock during the holidays, but she said the beaches did help dampen the sting of homesickness.

Harris is currently working at Monterey High School, teaching the drum line there. She has also worked at South Plains College teaching bass and has taught at other area high schools on drums.

She’s also working on an album featuring her on bass and vocals.

Harris said she is still in the process of figuring out what path to take in life. She is performing almost every night.

“I’m really just trying to pick a direction,” she said.

Harris said she would like to be completed by 30, but she is not really in a hurry because she is enjoying her musical journey.

She said she hopes to be in a good orchestra, teach at a university and still having different opportunities to play music.

Karan Newsom, assistant principal at FHS, remembers how involved Harris was in band while a student. But she also remembers how friendly Harris was to teachers and faculty.

“She was a lot of fun as a kid, always had a big smile on her face,” Newsom said.

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