Music in Our Schools Month Spotlight: Evan Thompson
By Allison Whisnant
Our next spotlight in our Music In Our Schools Month series is Immediate Past President, Evan Thompson. Evan was initiated into the Zeta Chi chapter at the University of South Carolina on April 8, 2006. He also serves as a member of Kappa Kappa Psi’s Board of Trustees. Evan received his degree from the University of South Carolina and began his teaching career as a middle school band and orchestra director. Later on, he moved to the elementary school level and currently teaches at Pelion Elementary School in Pelion, SC. He teaches K-5th grade music and directs an after school choir. Pelion Elementary is a part of the Lexington School District 1 and has served its large farming and rural community for over 100 years.
It was because of his many passionate teachers growing up that Evan decided to become a music educator. He credits the many capable and skilled teachers in Sumter School District 17 that afforded him the opportunity to learn from the best. He also comes from a family of educators. “You could consider it a family thing,” he says.
Evan had many influential teachers in his musical upbringing that helped inspire him to become a music educator: Joni Brown, Robert Slade, Leah Turner, and Heath Jones. He also was able to shadow and learn from another director, Penny Rodgers. Being constantly surrounded by so many skilled and passionate teachers helped drive Evan in his journey to becoming a music educator. He knew he was always being exposed to the best musical literature and teaching that pushed him to the highest level of musicianship and mastery. He also credits his success to his collegiate mentors: James Copenhaver, David O’Shields, Andrew Gowan, Rebecca Phillips, Keith Amstutz, and James Ackley. He says he was afforded every opportunity in high school and college to be his best.
Kappa Kappa Psi has also played a consistent role in his teaching. It is because of this organization that he knows that it is not always about the highest form of musicianship or just being right. That alone is not enough. “Relationships and people matter. How you treat others is a direct reflection of what is in your soul. We must be willing to spring off of our organs and focus on what matters most!” This is such a huge part of music education. It isn’t just filling students with information; it is shaping young humans to be the best version of themselves.
When asked for advice that he would give to young or aspiring music educators, Evan has great insight into the reality of teaching. “Ask questions, pay attention, and seek out as many teaching experiences as you can. Life is not a perfect comprehensive 5A high school with a championship marching band and Midwest-caliber Wind Ensemble. Observe all different types of schools and programs. There is value in every child and every experience.”
We thank Evan not only for his continued service to our National Council and fraternity as a whole but also for his continued dedication to the future generations by showing children the power of music and artistry.