SHS senior plans to fill the world with music

Liam Combs isn’t bothered by the fact he won’t graduate from Seymour High School in the traditional way.

Come Sunday, he plans to join his 353 classmates and the community to celebrate the strength and resiliency of the Class of 2020 through the last four years and especially the last two months during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The graduation ceremony will take place in the student parking lot with prerecorded speeches and the reading of the names of all of the graduates to be broadcast on 92.7 NASH ICON.

Afterwards, students can participate in a parade that will follow the Oktoberfest parade route in reverse.

Although the pomp and circumstance is different, Combs said it’s still a way to recognize and congratulate the students’ accomplishments.

"I think it’s best for everyone that it was changed," he said. "I’m glad that we will get to celebrate with a ceremony even though it will be nontraditional."

Having to complete his senior year at home via eLearning was not an ideal situation, but he managed to get everything completed in time.

"It was definitely different," he said. "I would have rather been in school."

Combs’ four years at SHS have been filled with the sweet sounds of music. He participated in Chamber Choir and Varsity Chorale and was a student director of the school’s most recent musical, "Mamma Mia."

One of his major achievements took place this year when he earned a gold with distinction award for a perfect score at the Indiana State School Music Association’s vocal competition.

He plans to continue to pursue his passion for music after graduation by attending Ball State University in the fall to major in music education.

But leaving SHS isn’t easy, as he will miss spending so much time in the choir room with assistant choral director Karla Shutters, who was a major influence and source of encouragement, he said.

His fondest memories of high school include performing with the Voces8 vocal group at Ball State last year and being in the cast and crew of the past three school musicals.

Combs was taking a work-based learning course this semester where he shadowed SHS choral director Kyle Karum and band director Kevin Cottrill.

That experience along with the support of the entire music department has given him confidence in his future. It was Karum, Combs said, who helped him figure out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.

"Had we been able to stay in school, I feel like it would have really prepared me for my career path," he said of work-based learning. "The staff always goes above and beyond. If I ever needed help, it was always available."

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has taught Combs and his classmates a valuable lesson.

"Don’t quit when the going gets tough because life doesn’t get any easier and you just have to power through it," he said.

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Name: Liam Combs

Age: 18

School: Seymour High School

School activities: Chamber Choir, Varsity Chorale, student director of the fall musical "Mamma Mia"

Accomplishment: Gold with distinction award for a perfect score at the Indiana State School Music Association’s vocal competition

Interests/hobbies: Reading, choir, musicals, traveling

Family: Parents, Monica Combs and Aaron Smith; sisters, Lucy and Lily

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What: Seymour High School graduation

When: 2:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: School parking lot; only one student per vehicle

Who: 354 members of the Class of 2020

Listen: Ceremony will be broadcast live on Radio 92.7 NASH ICON

There will be a graduation parade following the ceremony. It will follow the Oktoberfest parade route in reverse.