COLUMBUS (WCMH) – These days, things are much different inside the band room at Linden-McKinley High School and the change is for the better. Thanks to new leadership and a small but dedicated group of students, they are helping to “restore the roar” in Linden.
“Music can change a person’s life. It can change the way they think. It’s an embodiment. It’s a universal language,” said band director Stephen Ingram.
The sounds coming from room 1144 at Linden-McKinley H.S. are music to the ears of a school and a community that could use some good news.
“What drew me to Linden McKinley? People kept talking about all these problems and everything like that. That sounds like the perfect place for a band to be,” said Ingram.
Ingram is in his first year as a band director. He was hired at 22 years old, fresh out of Central State University. He grew up in inner-city Chicago, where he experienced some of the challenges his students face today.
Ingram is in his first year as band director — hired at 22 years old, fresh out of Central State University. He grew up in inner-city Chicago, where he experienced some of the challenges his students face today.
“Everything I had circled around band. It kept me from doing a lot of stupid things. Kept me off the streets. Kept me from doing a lot of different things,” said Ingram.
Lessons he has learned, he now applies to his students and it is producing results.
“Everything has been push, motivate and get further instead of like the last three years. The band is one of the things that gets us as children of Linden off the streets and into something special with other kids ,” said junior Josiah Holloway, who plays the bass drum in the band.
And though small in numbers, this band is big on talent and Panther Pride.
“When you’re having a rough day this is like the highlight of my day. People will ask me or I’ll be walking somewhere and they’ll say ‘are you the girl that plays trombone in the band’? And I’m like yeah,” said freshman Nyasia Burden, who plays the trombone.
“Don’t be a product of your surroundings,” said Ingram. “Yes, there are a lot of things going on around here but take care of what you need to do. If we do that, then that will spotlight a positive on y’all.”