Student flutist selected for national choir

Northwest Mississippi Community College is proud to announce that a student at the college has been selected for the National Flute Association (NFA) College Flute Choir.

In the spring of 2021, Grenada native John Goodson received the good news, which came as somewhat of a surprise.

“It’s good not to expect the best results every time,” he said. “This is national, and I’ve never achieved something like it before. I was running around calling everyone.”

Goodson was one of only 15 students nationwide chosen for the honor. The first person he called to share the news with was Northwest woodwind instructor Jennifer Whitehead, who he knew before ever arriving at Northwest. Whitehead taught him lessons when he was a student at Grenada High School.

“It was fun for me too because he was my first college student to audition and make it,” she said.

The most incredible part of this exciting development is that Goodson has only been playing the flute for about four years. The son of Ken and Sandy Goodson, he initially followed in his father’s footsteps and learned the trombone. He played the instrument in his middle school band, followed by high school band, until he decided to pick up the flute mid-way through the tenth grade. 

After only two years of playing, he was selected for the Mississippi Lions All-State Band, which only accepts eight students annually. He has since played in various honor bands over the last four years. Now a sophomore at Northwest studying music performance and playing in the college’s band and Wind Ensemble, Goodson is excited about what the future could hold.

“This summer was interesting because I really just started thinking about plans for the future and gauging possibilities,” he said. “I’ve been told to be ambitious.”

In August, the NFA hosted its 49th Annual Convention, held virtually in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Helmed by award-winning composer and flutist Nicole Chamberlain, Goodson said he was impressed by how organizers managed to adapt the convention into an amazing virtual event. Additionally, because it was held virtually, Goodson has been invited back to perform at next year’s in-person conference in Chicago.

When asked about the music instruction he has received at Northwest, Goodson said his skills have absolutely been enhanced through the expertise of the school’s music educators.

“All of the instructors and directors are so helpful to us, and they really want us to succeed,” he said.

Currently, Goodson is focusing on auditions for conservatories and top music schools. He has received a music lesson from prominent flute player Alice Dade, a member of the University of Missouri faculty and a Juilliard alumna. After seeing what Goodson could do, Dade instructed him to “aim high.” 

He will also receive lessons or input from other famous flute players such as: Denis Bouriakov, principal flutist in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and flute professor at the UCLA Herb Albert School of Music; Lorna McGhee, principal flutist in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and flute professor at Carnegie Melon University; Claudia Walker, principal flutist in the Sinfónica de Galicia in Spain; Paula Robison, flute professor at New England Conservatory; and Bruce Erskine, retired flute professor from the University of Memphis and Air Force Band.

“My parents could not be happier, and we’re all just waiting to see what happens,” he said.

For more information about Northwest, including pathways, programs and upcoming Fine Arts performances, visit northwestms.edu.