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New Director of Bands Dr. Doug Overmier had his first taste of Northwest years ago, but this trimester he is officially part of Bearcat Nation.
He comes to Northwest with experience from the University of West Georgia and a genuine passion for students, music and football games.
“Everybody was trying to impress upon me the quality of students at Northwest,” Overmier said. “Oh my gosh. They don’t have to do any impressing anymore – the people at Northwest speak for themselves. They really do. Northwest not only has good people, but they’re bright academically, talented, and they’ve got abilities.”
Overmier’s responsibilities include the charting, arranging and rehearsing for the Bearcat Marching Band. He also directs the Northwest Wind Symphony, the Studio Jazz Band and teaches a conducting class for future music educators. He will direct the pep band during basketball games this winter, and in the spring he will lead a concert band and teach an orchestration and arrangement class.
Overmier plans to bring Northwest’s band department up to a new level while respecting its traditions. He looks forward to the Homecoming football game Oct. 30 and integrating Maryville High School band students with musicians in the Bearcat Marching Band and Alumni Band.
“This seems to be a very receptive place for innovation, and that’s unusual for larger institutions,” Overmier said. “Usually there’s a lot of bureaucracy. Here, folks want to get it done and that’s nice.”
Northwest made its first appearance in Overmier’s life during his first job at Highland College (Kan.). There, Al Sergel, who served as Northwest director of bands from 1981 to 2003, asked Overmier to judge Northwest’s Homecoming Parade.
“I loved it,” Overmier said. “I really liked the campus and I thought, ‘You know, if I could ever work here I’d really have it made.’”
Overmier’s first offer for director of bands came eight years ago as he left North Carolina State University. However, Overmier’s commitment to his parents and family kept him on the East Coast.
On Friday, Aug. 20, Overmier finally set foot on campus as director of bands. His first performance at the opening football game Sept. 2 lived up to the hype he first witnessed years earlier.
“Northwest has an amazing, amazing experience here,” Overmier said. “It’s really exciting. I’d put it on par with most of the Division I schools I’ve been to. We’ve got bands, we’ve got crowds, we’ve got cheerleaders, we’ve got team, we’ve got it all. It’s a great package.”
Overmier discussed future plans for innovative technology within the band program, maintaining Northwest’s technologically-advanced reputation. He also plans to increase the publicity of Northwest’s variety of bands. At the center of his enthusiasm, though, is a genuine appreciation for what he does.
“My personal philosophy has always been that music picks up where words leave off,” Overmier said. “You can have the excitement. You can have the people yelling. But when the band’s playing or when you hear the fight song and you can sing the words, or there’s a great defensive play and there’s the extra punctuation by the ensemble, I think it heightens those things.”