New director to change the beat of CHS percussion

By Jordan Bickham
Staff Writer

The temperature gauge reads over 100 degrees on a Monday afternoon as the drumline marches onto the practice field and members of the pit section push their instruments to the sideline.

Band students are not afforded the luxury of heading home after school or relaxing with friends. Coppell High School’s percussion section is working overtime in preparation for the state marching competition on Nov. fifth and sixth of this year.

Zach Scheer, Coppell’s new head percussion director, has come to help them reach that goal.

Scheer has been playing percussion since the sixth grade and has had a passion for it ever since, driving him to pursue a future in music.  After getting an academic and music scholarship to the University of North Texas, Scheer was able to graduate with a degree in music education.  This degree led him to CHS, where the band program is known for being exemplary.

“Coppell has a great reputation for being a great school district and great band program,” Scheer said. “The players in Coppell that [director Scott Mason] and [assistant director Douglas Grice] and [assistant director Brandon Slovak] and [former percussion director Alan Miller] produced are recognized throughout the state as being great students and great musicians.”

With his wife, Gina Scheer, who went through the band program at CHS until 2004, working as a band director in Lewisville, the move to Coppell was a great choice. But with state coming up, Scheer has a lot of work in store for him.

“We have been working on the marching band show, the directors have been, inside and outside of rehearsal to prepare the best product possible for the students,” Scheer said. “The students have been working very hard and they are beginning to work toward that goal specifically instead of just going to rehearsal everyday and going through the motions.”

Not only does Scheer think the students are working hard and preparing well this year, but the percussionists themselves also know they have been preparing well for State.

“[Scheer] works tirelessly to make sure everything is going well, everything’s in order, the leadership knows what to do and the section as a whole knows what to do so we can be prepared for competitions,” junior pit section leader Sydney Owens said.  “He’s very good at motivating us as well, he wants us to be the best that we can be and maximize our full potential.”

As a new director, Scheer brings fresh ideas to the program in order to fully engage students and help them really appreciate being a part of the percussion program.

“I’m going to be putting an emphasis on the students in the percussion program thinking of themselves as part of a group that extends from sixth grade all the way through 12th grade.  So if you’re a high school percussionist, you have the opportunity to be involved in teaching and facilitating learning with younger students,” Scheer said.  “And if you’re a younger student, you’ll be looking up to the older students because that’s your future.”

While focusing on connecting with the various age groups within the percussion program, he is also working with connecting with the percussionists as well in order to work together.

“Mr. Scheer has a more comfortable level of communicating one-on-one even between leadership and individuals,” junior drum captain Mikki Hoffman said.  “For example, the other day he stayed and practiced with us for an extra half hour after practice teaching us new rhythms we didn’t know.  He’s very likable that way because he’s so willing to be more than just the nine to five teacher.”

Although the year has just started, the percussionists are looking forward to a great new year filled with fresh new ideas under Scheer’s leadership.

“For being so young, he has so much to suggest to us.  What he lacks in experience, he makes up in his skills as a teacher, a communicator and a percussionist,” Hoffman said.  “The drumline is like a cult of fun, crazy, talented students, and Mr. Scheer will fit right in.”