Change of direction: Johnson leads Concordia bandPublished 9:59pm Wednesday, August 21, 2013
By Jay Sowers
The Selma Times-Journal
Since he was a child, Steven Johnson has followed the music wherever it has called him, and this summer the notes and rhythms have led him to Selma.
Johnson was named the new band director at Concordia College in late June and started working on campus in early July.
Johnson comes to Selma with nearly a decade of experience as a band director at multiple schools at the middle school and high school level, and he said the similarities in the jobs overshadow the difference.
“It’s really all the same, the kids just get bigger,” Johnson said. “I operate in the same way and in the same manner.
“The way I operate is intense.”
Since his first day on the job in Selma, Jackson has been busy with the day-to-day work that goes into leading a college marching band, but that hasn’t kept him from thinking about the future of the band.
When asked to describe his vision of the band’s future in one word, ‘large’ would likely be the word of choice for Johnson.
Johnson hopes a larger band will play a larger range of songs, and will one day have a large list of performances; both in town and throughout the country.
Previously, the marching band has been composed of roughly 40 members who play instruments and more who are members of the flag and dance teams.
Johnson said there are 65 musicians, 14 dance and flag members as well as multiple managers in the marching band this season.
He said he hopes to increase those numbers more in the coming years.
While there will be more members of the band this season, there will also be a wider range of songs played by those musicians.
“They have to have a repertoire, a big repertoire,” Johnson said. “Some schools run out of songs. My schools will never run out of songs.”
Johnson just finished leading band members through a two-week summer band camp, during which he covered all the basics members need to be comfortable with if his dreams for the band are to come to fruition.
“At those summer marching camps you lay down the foundations of the marching style, all the drilling ceremony, facial movements,” Johnson said. “Once everybody is on the same page, everybody just knows what to do.”
Johnson said there was one noticeable difference between the band camp that just completed at Concordia, and all the others he’s led over his career.
“My camps are all a little like a boot camp,” Johnson said. “The only difference is that when I was leading the bands at the high school level, I couldn’t wake them up at 4:15 a.m.”