The beat of a new drum
New assistant percussion director joins staff
October 21, 2020
Many people have experienced monumental milestones during the COVID-19 pandemic: births, marriages, retirement, birthdays, to name a few. For assistant percussion director Ben Koch, it was graduating college and starting his first teaching job.
Koch joined the staff as the assistant percussion director working alongside head percussion director Zach Houston for the 2020-21 school year. The position opened after the former assistant percussion director Michael Young left to pursue piloting. Koch heard about the job through a Facebook applicant scouting group and began working in August.
“[The transition has gone] fairly well,” Koch said. “The kids are very receptive and work hard. I’m excited to be here.”
Koch graduated from the University of North Texas in the spring of 2020. In addition to his teaching experiences in college, Koch was a technician at Marcus High School during their 2019 competitive season. He worked with their battery, the percussionists who march on the field, and has this same responsibility with his current job.
“Getting to see the way that the marching bands operate in Lewisville ISD and the ways that they [contribute] to their level of success [helped prepare me],” Koch said. “Taking that experience and then transferring it over here and seeing the different ways that this program operates [has allowed me] to plug into it and be another cog in the machine to keep it running.”
With COVID-19 restrictions greatly impacting the band schedule, Koch began his year with a reduced summer band. As a result of high levels of uncertainty and cautiousness, rehearsal schedules were released weekly unlike normal.
“You never know when things are going to change– especially in the beginning– that could affect his transition specifically,” Houston said. “[There are] things that you have no control over that are tough to deal with, so I think overall things have been fine.”
Regardless of his unconventional start, Koch has already taken his experiences to help improve the drumline as a whole.
“We play a lot differently in terms of balance, in volume, just [our] general approach,” senior percussionist Ike Bowen said. “There’s a lot more self accountability and less of a ‘wait to get yelled at’ kind of thing. We used to just mess around and that was how we had fun, not by playing well. Now it’s the other way around, which is nice.”
Despite current circumstances, Koch remains hopeful for the future and is looking forward to attending the 2022 Rose Parade. The band was invited to perform at the 2021 Rose Parade, however it has been cancelled due to health and safety purposes.
“I’m excited to see how we all reflect on this experience,” Koch said. “Not just us as in the school, but everybody in the community of marching band, and what next year looks like given the experience we all went through.”