A! Magazine for the Arts

Nick Meredith in the Barter Youth Academy's production of  'Around the World in 80 Days' (photo by Danielle Bullen)

Nick Meredith in the Barter Youth Academy's production of 'Around the World in 80 Days' (photo by Danielle Bullen)

Nick Meredith sees community in music

December 29, 2019

Community is an integral part of Nick Meredith’s musical and non-musical life.

“Music means so many things — joyful expression, encouragement to others, complex but beautiful pieces — but chiefly I love the community of music. Music is about performing for others and with others. I have made so many good friends and cheered so many people who needed cheering that music, to me, has become defined by these things,” he says.

He recently took that sense of community to his Eagle Scout project —cataloging all of Mountain Empire Children’s Choral Academy’s music.

“That was a very rewarding, surprisingly non-musical event. The only musical aspect was that the volunteers had to find composer, arranger and more by looking at the piece. We sorted boxes and boxes of music, and at the same time put together an online database and catalogue. From start of work to finish it took six months. I thought it would be easy and more musically based; it was not. I learned the infinite importance of time management, and that has been very applicable to music, particularly practicing,” he says.

Nick began his musical life at an early age by singing in church. When he was 9, he began to take piano lessons. A few years later, he joined the Mountain Empire Children’s Choral Academy. He also plays keyboard in his church band.

He participates in the Tennessee Piano Festival and has earned one excellent and seven superior ratings. The highlights of his musical career include playing piano in the lobby of the Bristol Hospital and singing with the Symphony of the Mountains through the MECCA choirs.

“I love performing for others. Music is most fun when I uplift, encourage and cheer people whom I love and whom I have never met. Good music, classic and established music, most encourages me and thus I love listening and learning it. I do play regularly in the Bristol Regional Medical Center lobby. I encourage you to come, remember how blessed you are, and yes, listen to me, but more importantly listen to the people who are hurting and spend some time encouraging them. They are for whom I perform.

“My two greatest influences are my grandmothers, Cary Grabar and Laura Richlin. They were both church organists and encourage and help me so much. My two greatest teachers are Ann Holler and Jane Morison. They have taught me more than I knew there was to learn. I have had many good musicians help me along my journey, but these four people deserve special commendation,” Nick says.

Nick also took organ lessons for a year but decided that he would prefer to hone his piano skills before continuing with the organ. “I love piano. It is so fun. I hope to play it forever, even if it does not become my career. That said, I have always wanted to play the concertina or the accordion - for fun,” he says.

He also finds time for theater. “I love theater almost as much as I love music. Sometimes it feels like a tie. Barter Theatre, and Barter Youth Academy in particular, have taught me a lot about being on stage. I loved singing and performing in ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ I loved more my performance in‘Around the World in Eighty Days’last December. Acting is so much fun. I am currently reading a riveting book,‘An Actor Prepares’by Constantin Stanislavski,” he says.

In his spare time, he does tumbling and dance at Watts Dance Studio. He also loves playing Dungeons and Dragons and planning parties. “I enjoy spending time with others, and so I work to have my friends over for a fun time. I got into Dungeons and Dragons a few years ago and love the creative storytelling that we do,” he says.

All of his siblings are involved with music. His older sister plays piano, organ and sings. His older brother plays guitar. His four younger brothers respectively play guitar, drums, piano and violin. The family is home schooled and believes that learning the arts is a fundamental part of the program.

Nick isn’t quite sure what his plans for the future are. “I would love to go into a musical or theater related career, but I just don’t know. My plans for college are simple. Learn how to work and learn what I want to do - and do music,” he says.

He is the 16-year-old-son of Alison and Timothy Meredith and lives in Bristol, Tennessee.