Owens paving her own path with role of drum major

Kyah Jones

Manasa Mohan, Staff Writer

 

She steps onto her podium getting ready to lead the Coppell High School Marching Band for yet another flawless performance. Serving as drum major since junior year is no easy feat, but not for CHS senior Avery Owens. Coming from generations tied to music, Owens was a natural from her first day in the Coppell Middle School East Band. 

With her grandfather, Donnie Owens, being inducted into the Texas Band Director Hall of Fame, his influence trickled down the family line, influencing Owens’ father, aunts and uncles. Growing up around a musical family, Owens felt a strong desire to play the trombone and join in the tradition. 

“My grandfather grew up on a farm and started playing in a middle school band and was in the high school band playing the euphonium,” Owens said. “When he went to college [at University of North Texas], he decided to study music and decided to be a band director.”

When I got to high school and I realized that music is my own thing, I decided I wanted to give back to the ensemble and continue the Owens’ legacy and be something greater within my own individual aspirations.””

— Coppell High School senior and CHS Marching Band drum major Avery Owens

Seeing her grandfather playing instruments every weekend and watching her own father play instruments [alto saxophone], Owens and her siblings decided to embrace music to honor their grandfather, father and the Owens’ family legacy. 

The drum major process in Coppell is rigorous, with potential drum majors attending mini-camps, a two part pre-leadership workshop with CHS Band director Gerry Miller, a conducting audition and a one-on-one interview with a panel (generally consisting of the band staff, an administrator and in Owens’ case, drum major alumni). This panel then selects the final drum major. But for Owens, the process of becoming drum major not only included the auditions, but also a personal journey. 

“I had to find confidence in myself to know that my future is in my own hands and my purpose was ever-evolving and ever-changing,” Owens said. “ I assumed that because trombone is something I was successful in, I thought trombone would be the only thing in music I would pursue. However, when I got to high school and I realized music is my own thing and a facet of myself, I could grow through it. That’s when I decided I wanted to give back to the ensemble and continue the Owens’ legacy, and I wanted to be something greater within my own individual aspirations. [Being drum major] is service, it’s connecting, it’s communicating with an ensemble, and it’s continuing the Coppell Band tradition.” 

Despite Owens being selected as drum major in the second semester of her sophomore year, she was serving as a leader in the marching band long before she earned the title. 

“Past the need for strong musical knowledge, throughout her freshman and sophomore years, she was a very focused and intense performer on the field,” Miller said. “She took what she did very seriously and aimed to offer her best individual performance. We began to see her as a sophomore taking on some leadership roles. When things needed to be done, Avery was there doing them without anybody having to ask. The willingness [she had] to see a need and meet that need inside of a program, that really helped [her] excel.”

When she is on the podium, Owens works tirelessly to maintain a balance between hard work and a positive environment to both push her peers, still keeping her spirits high. She possesses a very unique divide among students to meet the need of maintaining a positive environment during difficult circumstances such as challenging weather or tough pieces to learn, whilst also encouraging her fellow peers that she will be the person to power and lead the group through optimism and kindness. 

“I would definitely like to see the energy and enthusiasm [in fellow marching band peers],” CHS senior drum major Wyatt Andrews said. “She’s very outgoing, and it’s nice because [her optimism] never gets old, and she makes it enjoyable to go to rehearsal regardless of whether it’s raining or really hot. It’s obvious she loves what she does, and regardless if there’s any logistical work, she’s all in for it. That passion is also something I’d really like to see [in other players].”

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