Coppell High School junior Ashna Pathan looks on as Coppell Marching Band warms up for its UIL Region 31 Marching Band Contest at Pennington Field in Bedford on Tuesday. The band took home sweepstakes for its competition show “Now I See.” Photo by Amelia Vanyo

Keeping up with a tricky tempo

October 20, 2016

The sun pierces the sky above her head, heat waves are so powerful they are nearly visible in the air. Still, even as the brightness blinds her, Coppell marching band’s only girl and only junior drum major Ashna Pathan, holds her head high through every rehearsal.


“Being able to affect people with music is such a powerful thing, but being able to do it with the rest of the band, who I consider to be like my extended family, is an even greater feeling,” Pathan said.


Being a drum major in the prestigious group is a trial within itself. The position is more than what meets the eye. Other than conducting the band during long, sweaty afternoon rehearsals, Pathan helps steer the band through odd jobs, testing her capabilities and boundaries while setting up equipment, or doing repairs- things she never saw herself doing.


Pathan is the only junior drum major, as well as the only girl drum major. While this may have posed difficult for some, Ashna and her peers, seniors Sam Wang, Kyle Whiting and Rishav Rout, take on their work professionally and happily no matter the circumstances.


“Sam, Kyle and Rishav are such great people, and we have really worked well together as a team,” Pathan said.


The group support each other through practices, games and competitions.


“She never complains and does what needs to be done,” Whiting said.


Coppell band is notorious for being a high intensity program that can push students to both their physical and mental limits. Pathan takes it a step further.


As a junior, Pathan is in her first year in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. The program gives students a heavy workload in exchange for a high school diploma globally recognized for its credibility. This workload, much like band, is difficult to manage on its own; adding something else takes perseverance and strength unknown to many high school students.


“There are days where I barely get two hours of sleep. But I’ve learned to take advantage of every second I have to get my homework done, and that really helps,” Pathan said.


For some, the workload Pathan takes on might simply be too much. For Pathan, it is simply part of who she is.


This dedication has paid off not only within Coppell, but throughout the Metroplex.


Pathan plays the clarinet in the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra’s Wind Symphony. When she was turned down at her first audition, she took the rejection as a detour rather than the end of a road.


“Whenever I set a goal for myself, not achieving it is not an option for me. Even if it takes longer than I first imagined it would, I take pride in never giving up on my goals and always working to achieve them,” Pathan said.


Now as a part of the Wind Symphony, she spends rehearsals reaping the rewards of her hard work.


“Her attention to detail and exemplary musicianship will carry her far,” Coppell band director Gerard Miller said.


Pathan dreams to score films after college where she plans to double major in music composition and music education.


With enormous achievements behind her and even larger goals ahead of her, Pathan keeps her ego far from the elevation of the platforms on the football field.


“I like being such a small part of something so big. I think that’s really special,” Pathan said.


Follow Amelia @ameliavanyo


2 Responses to “Keeping up with a tricky tempo”

  1. Kelly Wei on October 20th, 2016 5:00 pm

    This is such a good story!

  2. Shobha on October 25th, 2016 7:57 am

    Amazing talent. You will go to great heights

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