Mary Kathryn Bowman Choat was recently appointed Lecturer and Director of the Athletic Band. She is also in her eleventh year as the director of bands at Hanes Magnet School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Mrs. Choat grew up in Winston-Salem and actually first began her musical career at Hanes Magnet School many years ago.
Mrs. Choat received her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Appalachian State University where she played on the ASU Women’s Varsity Golf Team. She received her Master of Music degree in Trombone Performance from the University of Texas under the instruction of Dr. Nathaniel Brickens. While at the University of Texas, she traveled with UT Trombone Choir to Paris to perform in the 2012 International Trombone Festival.
Since her return to Hanes in 2012, Mrs. Choat’s bands have consistently earned “Superior” ratings in grade III and IV at the Northwest North Carolina District Music Performance Adjudication and the West Region Jazz Music Performance Adjudication. Mrs. Choat has created a culture of high performance standards at Hanes as evidenced by the notably large number of students placed in auditioned honors ensembles each year including All-County, All-District, All-State Honors, West-Region Jazz, and All-State Jazz Bands. The Hanes Band has been selected and will perform at the 2022 North Carolina Music Educators Convention this fall.
Mrs. Choat has received numerous awards throughout her years at Hanes including the American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA) Encore Award in 2016, “Band Director of the Year” for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools in 2017, and the “Outstanding Jazz Educator Award” for the West Region Jazz section of NC in 2019. She frequently serves as a guest clinician for honors ensembles throughout the state.
In addition to her position at Hanes Magnet School, Mrs. Choat performs regularly throughout North Carolina in many professional ensembles including Winston-Salem’s only “big band” – Camel City Jazz Orchestra, the Piedmont Wind Symphony, and the North Carolina Brass Band.
Mrs. Choat and her husband, Colin, live in downtown Winston-Salem. In her spare time, she is an avid marathon runner and Ironman triathlete. She also coaches the girls golf team at Reagan High School which won the state championships in 2018, 2020, and 2021.