Band director gig a dream for Obermeyer

Photo courtesy Eric Obermeyer



FERDINAND — It still feels like a dream to Eric Obermeyer.

While performing in the Jasper High School band program years ago, he scribbled notes in a journal that laid out a blueprint for how he’d lead when he finally took the reins of a program.

He’ll soon be in charge of one of the best in the state.

After a year of directing band and choir at South Knox High School in Vincennes, the 24-year-old is just weeks away from taking the helm at Forest Park Junior-Senior High School. Obermeyer was recently approved by the Southeast Dubois School Board to take over as the Ferdinand school’s band director at the end of the academic year.

Upon hearing that longtime Ranger leader Chad Gayso landed the Jasper director spot in March, Obermeyer immediately expressed interest in the Forest Park job.

“These kinds of jobs don’t just open up every day or every year,” he said in a Thursday phone interview. “They’re considered once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, for a job like this to come along.”

The Marching Rangers hit all the right notes during the 15-year Gayso era, bringing home six state championships and five runner-up finishes in the Indiana State School Music Association’s Open Class D. The band has not missed the state finals since its exiting director joined the program in 2004.

But Obermeyer isn’t intimidated by the size of the shoes he has been tasked to fill.

“I’ve never been a person to back away from a challenge,” he said. “And personally, the bigger the challenge, the better. I think it challenges both myself and it challenges those around me to be the best that they can be. And so really, where others shy away from big challenges like that, I find myself wanting to take on those kinds of opportunities.”

He graduated from JHS in 2012 and went on to earn a degree in music education with an emphasis in euphonium and piano from Murray State University in 2018. Obermeyer composed and directed a song while in high school, and was a member of the professional Drum Corps International group in 2014 and 2016. This year, his first as a director, he received the Conn-Selmer Award for outstanding young band director in the state of Indiana.

To keep the success coming at his new program, Obermeyer plans on cultivating a family-like environment that promotes growth.

“I’m very good at motivating, or pushing limits, I guess you would say,” he said of his leadership style, later adding that, “one of the best things I do is pushing people to be completely better.” He loves hearing students say they know they can’t do something, only to do that very thing after hard work and practice.

He sees value in being a young, tenacious director. Ideas are flowing in his mind. And he’s eager to try them out.

“The new people, we have a little bit more vigor, I guess you could say,” he said. “We’re not in a rut. We’re not tired of things. We still have all these ideas and something new to try every day.”

When asked about the marching band’s 2019 fall routine, Obermeyer declined to comment at this time. But he did leave readers with a hint as to what could be coming on the field when the band chases its 16th consecutive state finals appearance.

“It will be a ride for sure,” he said.

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