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Alumni Spotlight: Grant Knox
Grant Knox in a black turtleneck and holding a conductor's baton

Grant Knox is a 2013 graduate of Bryan Station High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Murray State University (2018) and a master’s in Musicology from the University of Arizona (2020). He’s now working on his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Conducting from Arizona State – on track to finish in spring 2025.

A:  I received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Murray State University in 2018, and a Master of Music in Musicology from the University of Arizona in 2020. I’m currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Conducting from Arizona State University, with a completion date set for Spring 2025.

Question: What is your fondest memory of your time at Bryan Station?

Answer: My sophomore year (2010), the Murray State Racer Band drove four hours to visit campus and perform an exhibition at the Bluegrass Pageant of Bands – an annual marching band competition hosted by Bryan Station. This was my first time ever seeing representation from what would become my future school, and I will always remember the inspiration I felt to be a member of that group.

Q: What person, class, or experience at Bryan Station influenced you the most?

A: There are far too many educators and classmates that I’m eternally grateful for to reduce to one influential experience. However, the most distinct influences came, of course, from my music classes with Shaun Owens, Michael Payne, and Don Hicks. Also, my English classes with Catherine Vannatter, Heather Zoll, Emily Warren, and Karen Francis inspired me to be the accomplished music writer I’ve become today. Lastly, an honorable mention to Jamie Mills and Rebecca Mueller (history) and Lynn Schentrup (art/graphic design).

Grant Knox in a high school photo, in black suit and tie

Q: How did your education at Bryan Station help prepare you?

A: Bryan Station prepared me for life after high school in countless ways. As a student in the IT Academy, I learned technical skills such as graphic design that have helped me develop a brand to highlight my musical abilities as well as navigate an ever-evolving 21st-century professional world. The arts education I received was rigorous and gave me the foundational skills I needed to be successful from the jump in my undergraduate studies. Also, attending Bryan Station taught me how to overcome prejudices, be one within a community, and find incredible opportunities from places others discount or disregard. To this day, I believe that my music education from Bryan Station was more comprehensive and real-world applicable than I could’ve gotten from any of the FCPS high schools.

Q: What is a professional highlight?

A: During my master’s degree, I was able to participate in a field experience trip with the musicology cohort at the University of Arizona. We visited New York City, where we contributed the research for the New York Philharmonic Orchestra’s “Walking Mahler’s New York” project (2020-21). I was also able to escape to Columbia University for a few days to do some individual archival research on Ulysses Kay, a Black American composer of the 20th century. That research ultimately revealed the subject of my master’s thesis and my first peer-reviewed journal article submission.

Q: What advice would you give students interested in your career field?

A: Beyond the typical advice of the importance of networking and seeking diverse opportunities – both of which are super essential – I’d encourage arts students to embrace experiences outside of their intended area of study/work. As a music major, I found my classes outside of the music department, such as art history, philosophy, grant writing, etc. to contribute just as much, and in some cases more, to my growth as a human and an artist-educator.

Q: What is an important life lesson to share with current students and future graduates?

A: Community is everything. With every milestone, I’ve been grateful to look back and appreciate the place and the people who have built me up and contributed to my successes. My pride in being a product of Lexington, FCPS, and of Bryan Station has informed the way I see the world and allowed me to use music to advocate for a better society.

Q: Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself – family, hobbies, interests, etc.?

A: While I truly miss Lexington, I’m grateful for the life I’ve built here in Arizona. Living in the Phoenix area, I've grown as an artist and music educator, I’m closer to my sister – a Henry Clay graduate who is doing incredible things as a social worker in the Bay Area of California – and I've gotten to reinvigorate my love for sports, wine, and hiking.