Thompson, Jr. was Guest Conductor of Lassiter High Symphony Orchestra


James E. Thompson, Jr. (center) is pictured with his father and mother James E. Thompson and Thomasina Jenkins Thompson.
James E. Thompson, Jr. (center) is pictured with his father and mother James E. Thompson and Thomasina Jenkins Thompson.

On December 16, 2008 James E. Thompson, Jr. was one of the guest conductors of the Lassiter High School Symphony Orchestra at the 62nd International Mid-West Clinic in Chicago Il. The Midwest Clinic, held each year in Chicago, is the nation’s largest band and orchestra meeting. It is attended annually by more than 15,000 music educators, students and professionals from all fifty states and more than thirty nations. Some of the finest instrumental organizations in the United States and world submit applications to perform at what is considered to be the largest and finest instrumental clinic in the world. Mr. Thompson was the first director from the Savannah area to be afforded this opportunity. He is married to Verlynda Slaughter Thompson. They have one son, James E. Thompson III.

James E. Thompson, Jr. is the assistant director of orchestra and bands at Lassiter High School in Marietta, GA. Mr. Thompson is a native of Savannah, Georgia and a 1993 graduate of Hershel V. Jenkins High School where he performed under the direction of Mr. Gary Lackey. He is the son of retired band director James E. Thompson and Thomasina Jenkins Thompson. He is a 1999 graduate of Florida State University where he studied applied trombone with Dr. John Drew. He is currently completing his Master’s degree in music at the University of Georgia. While attending Florida State University, he was a member of numerous performing ensembles including the Florida State University Marching Chiefs, the Symphonic Band, the Jazz Band I, Trombone choir, and the Wind Orchestra, where he performed under the direction of Dr. James Croft.

As a high school student, Thompson was considered one of the finest trombone players in the country. He was selected to the Georgia All-State Band or Orchestra five times and was first chair three times. He attended the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program and was first chair at the University of Georgia Summer Band Camp as a 9th grader. He was a 1992 winner of the Savannah Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition and was guest soloist with the Savannah Symphony Orchestra. In addition, in the summer of 1992, he attended the world famous Interlochen Arts Camp, was a member of the World Youth Symphony Orchestra and first chair in the Symphonic I Band. He has performed under some of the finest conductors in the United States, which include Col. Arnold D. Gabriel, Neeme Järve, John Paynter, Col. Lowell Graham, and Fredrick Fennel. In 1993 he received the most outstanding high school musician citation from the Georgia State Board of Education and Department of Education and was invited to the Georgia state capital to receive the award from the state superintendent. Mr. Thompson has performed professionally with the Savannah Symphony Orchestra, and has been a member of the Hilton Head and Beaufort Symphony Orchestras before relocating to the metropolitan Atlanta area. He is currently playing in the Cobb Wind Symphony under the direction of Alfred Watkins.

Thompson began his teaching career in 1999 at Mercer Middle School and Port Wentworth Elementary School in Savannah, Georgia. In 2001 he became director of bands at Sol C. Johnson High School while serving as director of bands at both schools. There were only 12 students in the band at Johnson High upon his arrival. In just five years, he developed the band from 12 to 140 students, performed a grade VI program at district Large Group Performance Evaluation and received all superior ratings. In 2002 in just his third year of teaching, he was selected teacher of the year at Johnson High School by his peers. Afforded the opportunity for impeccable musical growth, in 2007 Thompson accepted his present position at Lassiter High School. He works in a situation that he relishes each day. He is elated to have the opportunity to work in a band and orchestra program that is considered to be one of the absolute finest in the United States.

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