Cardinal Newman Hosted the Diocese of Charleston's Annual Choir and Band Clinic

On January 23, 2023, students from St. Anne Catholic School in Rock Hill, S.C., Bishop England High School in Charleston, S.C., and Cardinal Newman School in Columbia, S.C. joined forces for the Diocese of Charleston Annual Band and Choir Clinic.  This initiative is a result of a fruitful professional development meeting in the spring of 2017, leading the performing arts teachers to begin this annual collaboration of schools. Students from Catholic secondary schools throughout the Diocese collaborate to make larger and more diverse ensembles then they generally get to play in on a daily basis at their respective schools. They spend the entire day working together on challenging music with amazing clinicians. This year we had over 90 students participate in the clinic and hope to continue to see it grow each year! Cardinal Newman is thrilled to have once again been able to host our fellow Catholic high schools for this event. In the future, the Diocesan music educators are looking to add elementary school and orchestra components!


The clinicians this year were Mr. Drew Connolly and Mr. Walter Graham.  Please see their bios below. 


About the Clinicians


Nathaniel Walter Graham, III, Choir Clinician 

Mr. Graham is in his 2nd year as the Coordinator for Visual and

Performing Arts for Richland One School District.  Previously, he

served as the Director of Choral Activities at Dreher High School (9

years) and Crayton Middle School (5 years). He was also the music

teacher at Nursery Road Elementary School (6 years) and Hopkins

Elementary School (2 years).


Under Mr. Graham’s direction, the Dreher Concert Choir was featured

at the 2018 SCMEA Conference. Additionally, his choirs have

performed with the South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra, the

University of South Carolina Symphony, the Palmetto Mastersingers,

the Sandlapper Singers, the Fort Jackson Army Band, Ethan Bortnick

(prodigy pianist), and Damian McGintey (from the television shows

Glee and The Glee Project).


In 2015, Mr. Graham was the first recipient of the Marjorie Stands

Music Educator Award by the Symphony League of the South Carolina

Philharmonic Orchestra. The mission of the Symphony League is to

foster, promote, and increase musical knowledge and appreciation of

the performing arts in the Philharmonic. Later that year, he was

nominated and selected in the 2016 class of The State Top 20 under

40 for his professional and community achievements.


Mr. Graham received his bachelor’s degree in Choral Music education

(1999) and a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting (2015) from the

University of South Carolina. Since 2011, he has held National Board

Certification in Music/Early Adolescence through Young Adulthood and

currently serves on the SCMEA High School Choral Performance

Assessment committee since 2016.


Drew Connolly, Band Clinician 

Drew Connolly is pursuing a doctorate in music education at the University of South Carolina. Prior to this, he taught high school band for 6 years in the upstate South Carolina. As a band director, his bands qualified for the South Carolina State Marching Band Championships, placed several students in All Region and All State bands, and had several students receive excellent and superior ratings at Solo and Ensemble festivals. Mr. Connolly received his Bachelor's of Music in Music Education from the University of South Carolina and his Master's in Music Education from Florida State University . He has studied conducting with Scott Weiss, Patrick Dunnigan, Richard Clary, and Alexander Jiminez. 


Mr. Connolly is a member of the South Carolina Music Educators Association, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), and Kappa Kappa Psi (National Band Fraternity). He currently lives in Lexington, SC with his wife, Kayla, and their dogs, Bryson and Chip.