Stella Oliver, senior, Panhandle High School
An outstanding musician in Panhandle High School senior Stella Oliver is featured this week’s Band Member Spotlight. Oliver, 17, deserves notice according to Panhandle High School Director of Bands Nick Stephenson.
“Stella was in the Texas All-State Band last year. She’s an amazing person and talented percussionist,” his nomination reads. “This year she serves as our Drumline Section Leader.“
Noting Stella’s success in competition, Stephenson said “Stella has had numerous Region, Area and State appearances in her band career. She was also part of the UIL State Marching Contest qualifying band two years ago.”
Stella said that she was born and raised in Panhandle and that her interest in percussion began when, as a 5-year-old, she saw her father playing drums in their church. Her career in school band got its start when she tried out for percussion as a sixth grader. She said she soared under the leadership of her then-Band Director Kyle McDonald, who is currently the band director of Caprock High School.
Stella’s favorite hobbies are playing guitar and singing.
After high school, Oliver sees herself attending either Lubbock Christian University or Abilene Christian University and majoring in biology with the goal of becoming a medical missionary. The music programs offered will be a factor in Stella’s overall decision as to which college to attend.
“I’m still kind of deciding what I want to do in regard to band,” she said.
Oliver gives high marks to the band leadership she has received throughout her middle school and high school music career.
“It’s just mostly the support that I have,” she said.
She mentioned that encouragement received over the years from McDonald and Stephenson and Assistant Band Directors Jacob Heck and Jacob Summersgill have been big motivators.
Parents of this week’s nominee are Mark and Sheryl Oliver. Sheryl commented on Stella’s talents, saying that she has always been musical and was making up songs before she could talk.
“She works very hard, she practices very hard,” Sheryl said. “It’s really fun to watch what she does, listen to the band, and know that’s my girl.”