Savannah Koonce - Louisiana Interview by Claire Plath Nomination by Lori Koonce Photography by Amy Holt Photography Issue 24 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: Savannah Koonce is an 18 year old graduate from Live Oak High School in Watson, LA. She has been involved in music since the 6th grade. She has since been active in her school bands, placed in talented music programs, been a member of the Louisiana Junior Youth and Youth Orchestras for 6 years and made multiple All Parish, District, and All South Honor Bands throughout her junior and high school years. She has also been the recipient of many awards for her solo performances during band competitions and most recently was awarded the John Sousa Award, a pinnacle achievement. She will be pursuing a degree in Music Education at Louisiana State University, where she will also be a member of the Golden Band, to inspire, teach, and share her love of music to other children and teens in Louisiana Schools. She is a true inspiration.
Who has inspired you as a musician and why? My high-school band director Brian Feigles. He is such a devoted musician and has a strong passion for teaching. He is selfless and pushes his students to be the best that they can when they perform or study music. He’s helped me prepare for so many auditions and challenged me to become better.
How did you become interested in teaching kids about music, and how do you see yourself accomplishing that? I absolutely love kids. And I have a strong passion for music. So, I figured why not combine the two? I’ve taught lessons for clarinet before and was a leader in Live Oak High-school band and it really opened my eyes to how much I love teaching music. I’m accomplishing this by studying Music Education at LSU! What opportunities have come with being a very active musician, and what do you love most about music? I’ve met so many people, and they’ve all ended up being good friends of mine. I’ve also been able to travel a lot for music. I played solos at Disney world for two years and received an outstanding soloist award for each of them. We also got to travel to six flags where I played another solo and received an award for that one too!! I love how music is its own language. It takes you out of reality and into this whole new world where there’s no words. Just sound. It’s so beautiful.
What has your musical journey been like through the years? A rollercoaster that’s scary but thrilling. There’s been so many times where I’ve had a really good streak going on with my auditions and music and then something happens that takes me on a more challenging ride. Like for example, I broke my hand and wrist a few weeks before Parish auditions and a concert that I had a solo at. One week out of surgery I still auditioned and performed through the pain at my own choice.
Can you us about your passion for helping animals and how it has impacted you. I love helping animals, not matter what kind they are. My parents have gotten so used to me bringing some animal that I found abandoned or sick in, that they don’t even question it anymore. Helping animals really showed me the true value of life and how precious everything is. Tell us about your travel experiences and volunteer work you are involved in through your faith. I’ve traveled to so many places with my church. We’ve gone to South Carolina, Texas, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, and more. I’ve helped feed the homeless, shared the word with kids in foster care while hanging out with them, helped a YMCA that needed people to help watch kids, pick up trash after football games and on the side of the road, given kids food and played with them and shared God with them at parks, and so much more.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are today? Work hard. Every time there’s something in your path, there will always be another route that can lead you to a better one, or one with more adventure!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years/what are your plans for the future? Teaching kids. I plan to be a High-school band teacher. What about you inspires others/why do you think you are inspiring? I’ve never given up. No matter how hard and overwhelming it got. I’ve packed on so many hobbies that I’ve learned to balance and prioritize.
How do you keep yourself organized with everything you have on your plate? I have a mental calendar. I only use my physical one when there’s too much going on at once.
What is your favorite activity or pastime that wasn’t in your nomination? Drawing. I love to sketch. Or workout. If my body is healthy, my mind is healthy.
Do you have a hidden talent? What is it? I can kind of sing and play piano.
Who do you find inspiring? Artie Shaw
Pizza or Tacos? Soda or Water? Cats or Dogs? Pizza. Water. Both
3 Things on your bucket list: Perform in New York’s Carnegie Hall, meet Martin Fröst, and travel the country.
Anything else you’d like to tell us? Nope! I think that covers it!
Savannah will be featured in Issue 24 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!