Chamis champions at Reynolds

Maggie Frail, Staff Writer

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Guitar teacher Mike Chamis has strummed his way into the hearts of many in the Reynolds community and in the community of Winston-Salem.

Chamis was exposed to the guitars diverse sound at a young age and has fully explored its abilities.

“I’ve been playing guitar melody, cores, lead instruments, background,” Chamis said. “There’s so many different roles you can play on a guitar: it’s very flexible and it mixes with all styles of music.”

Chamis builds confidence in his students by creating an easygoing environment in the classroom.

“His class is more like a get together with friends where we all jam together,” sophomore Whit Andrus said. “However, he makes sure we know the material and are able to play our songs to the level he expects.”

Chamis went to Guildford College to get his undergraduates degree then went onto The University of North Carolina School of the Arts to get his masters in guitar. Teaching was not something he always intended to do, but when the opportunity arose, he took it.

“[Teaching] is something I just fell into right after college for the first time at Chapel Hill,” Chamis said. “I have 10 years of music retail and when I had just started working there the boss was like ‘hey what do you think about teaching some guitar lessons?’”

Even though he had had many years of playing guitar under his belt, Chamis realized this being able to play doesn’t mean you can teach.

“It was really rough at the beginning but it challenged me to kind of get it together and how to [teach] it to someone else,” he noted about his first experience.

While Chamis is known around campus for his teaching, he is also known around town for his performances with his band. He plays at downtown events, birthdays and weddings.

“I also have a rock band here in town that I get out and perform with a couple of times a month,” Chamis said.

Along with his downtown and private performances, Chamis has also written and recorded a musical for children that has been performed live at Kaleideum, a theatre focused on unified learning and STEM, with students from Reynolds earlier this year.

“I have had a couple of opportunities to perform that live where I have recorded it playing all the instruments and doing all the voices so when we do live performances I play guitar along with it and sing,” Chamis said.

Over the years Chamis has had a great impact on Reynolds and the community.

“Mr. Chamis really cares about his students and is good at forming strong relations with them,” Andrus said.

Photo courtesy of Whit Andrus