Meet the Directors

Andrew Cole, Director

Andrew Cole      Andrew Cole is completing his twenty-second year as Band Director at Hightower Trail Middle School.  Under Mr. Cole's direction, the 8th Grade Symphonic Band has performed at the Music for All National Middle School Festival in Indianapolis, IN (2010, twice at the University of Georgia Middle School Band Festival (2006, 2010), and twice a the Georgia Music Educators Association Convention in Savannah, GA (2008, 2012, 2018).  For the 2006 UGA MidFest performance, the band commissioned Erik Morales to write The Impossible Machine.  In 2007, Brian Balmages was commissioned to write Etowah to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the school; it was performed at the 2008 GMEA Convention.  Prior to teaching at Hightower Trail, Mr. Cole taught for five years at Marietta Middle School.

    Mr. Cole has worked with many area school bands providing band clinics, low brass coaching, and adjudication.  He is presently a member of the Lassiter High School Marching Band staff, a position he has held since 2002.  Mr. Cole was guest band clinician at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Middle School Band Festival (2005, 2009).  Mr. Cole conducted the GMEA District 9 Clinic Band (2009) and was a guest conductor at the UGA Middle School Band Festival (2007).  He was the low brass instructor at the Cobb County Summer Music Camp (1999-2007) and the Brass Instructor at the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program (1995-1997), which included conducting the GHP Brass Ensemble for the Valdosta, GA Olympic Torch Ceremony in 1996.  He was also an adjunct faculty member at Kennesaw State University (1995-1997).

     Mr. Cole attended Furman University (Bachelor of Music Education, 1990), where he was awarded the Furman Band's Outstanding Freshman Award (1987) and Vince Perone Outstanding Bandsman Award (1990).  He completed his Masters degree at Northwestern University (Master of Music, Trombone Performance, 1991).  Mr. Cole was a student of Jay Bocook, Dr. Robert Chesebro, and Dan Ellis at Furman, and a student of John Paynter and Frank Crisafulli at Northwestern.  He was included in the 2001 International Who's Who of Professional Educators and has been awarded the Citation of Excellence by the National Band Association on four occassions (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012).

      A trombonist, Mr. Cole is a charter member and section leader of the Cobb Wind Symphony, an all-adult community band, since 1999.  As a member of the Cobb Wind Symphony, Mr. Cole has played at the GMEA Convention (2003, 2007, 2011), at the CBDNA Southern Division Conference (2002, 2008), the Midwest Clinic (2003, 2011), and the UGA HIgh School Band Festival (2010).  Mr. Cole has been the Principal Trombonist of Orchestra Atlanta (1992-1999) and a member of the Atlanta Brass Renaissance Quintet (1995-2010). 

     Mr. Cole has served GMEA District 12 in many capacities during his teaching career, including Solo & Ensemble Co-Organizer, Band Festival Site Host, Band Festival Organizer, District Honor Band Host, and as the District Vice Chairman.  Mr. Cole has served Hightower Trail Middle School as Music Department Team Captain for many years and a two year term on the School Council.  Mr. Cole is a Member of NBA, MENC, GMEA, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.

     Mr. Cole and his wife, Ashley Cole (Assistant Band Director at Griffin Middle School in Cobb County), live in Marietta.


Fred Norton, Assistant Director

Fred Norton      Fred Norton is in his twelfth year as Assistant Band Director at Hightower Trail Middle School.   While at Hightower Trail, the 8th Grade Symphonic Band has performed at the University of Georgia Middle School Band Festival (2006, 2010, 2013), the University of Alabama Middle School Honor Band Festival (2014), the GMEA In-Service Conference (2008, 2012, 2018), the Music For All Southeast Regional at GSU (2015, 2017), and the Music For All National Festival in Indianapolis (2010).  He has received four Citations of Excellence from the National Band Association (2010, 2012, 2013, 2015).  Mr. Norton previously taught at Griffin Middle School, where his jazz bands hosted WCLK radio’s “Jazz in the Classroom” project.

     Mr. Norton received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from the University of Georgia (2001), where he studied with Dr. John Culvahouse.  At UGA, he served on the Dean’s Student Advisory Board, was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda, and held state offices in CMENC and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.  He earned his Master of Music Education degree from Indiana University (2006), where he studied with Ray Cramer and Stephen Pratt.  As an Associate Instructor and Course Coordinator at IU, he wrote curricula for four courses, including Woodwind Techniques and the Music Education Instrumental Laboratory.  He also co-directed the Bloomington Middle School Honor Band.  Recently, Mr. Norton earned his Education Specialist degree in Music Education at the University of Georgia (2013).

     A saxophonist, Mr. Norton has studied with Sam Skelton, Kenneth Fischer, Otis Murphy, and Tom Walsh.  He has worked with numerous Georgia bands as a symphonic band instructor, marching band instructor, music judge, and private lesson instructor.  He has been on band staff with Lassiter High School (his alma mater) for many years, including the 2002 National Championship season.  He has also served on band staff at Pope High School and has directed the Pope High School Woodwind Choir.  As a member of the Cobb Wind Symphony, he has performed at the UGA High School Band Festival (2010), GMEA In-Service Conference (2003, 2007, 2011, 2014), CBDNA Southern Division Conference (2002, 2008), and the Midwest Clinic (2011).  He now serves on the Board of Directors for Cobb Wind Symphony.

     Guest conducting duties have included the University of Alabama at Birmingham Middle School Honor Band Festival (2013) and River Trail Middle School's preparations for the Music For All National Concert Band Festival (2013).

     Mr. Norton currently serves as GMEA District 12 Solo & Ensemble Festival Organizer and as Team Captain for the HTMS Music Department.  He is a member of NAfME, GMEA, NBA, JEN, GAJE, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.