As she leads the woodwind section through a warm-up, Julia Donnel stops conducting and begins to give details and things to focus on for the next exercise. Donnel is Johnson’s new band director who came in after Alan Sharps retired last year.
“I played pretty much every clarinet in the family,” Donnel said.
Donnel began her band experience in middle school where she learned how to play the clarinet. She continued to play clarinet throughout highschool and college.
“I went to Churchill High School and graduated in 2013,” Donnel said. “And then I went to Texas State and graduated from there in 2017.”
Donnel is an NEISD graduate, and was in high school was when she realized her passion for teaching band.
“In high school my band director was really great,” Donnel said. “And he was a very influential person in my life. So I realized, like I want to do that.”
With her, Donnel brings many unique qualities to Johnson’s Band.
“I’m able to see it from a different perspective, you know coming from Del Rio,” Donnel said. “I bring in just different perspectives of how to teach things”
Along with unique qualities, Donnel also has plans to help strengthen the Johnson woodwind section.
“I want to help build the woodwind section,” Donnel said, “Not necessarily improve, but just make sure that I am creating a woodwind sound.”
This year’s band show is called ‘Know Who You Are’ and is based off Johnson’s 2010 band show.
“It’s really cool,” said Donnel. “I watched this show performed live when I was in high school, so it’s really cool to watch it at the other end.”
While coronavirus has presented new challenges, Donnel, the other band directors, and the band students are excited to be starting their season.
“I’m just excited to be on the staff and get to work with my best friends, and then I get to teach some really excited students,” Donnel said.