Alyssa Overmann first picked up the trumpet as a fourth-grader, in awe of jazz band and enraptured by the sound of brass instruments. Although playing an instrument serves more as a hobby for some, Overmann quickly found that she had a natural inclination toward the trumpet and persevered with the instrument since middle school through a combination of understanding the principle of perseverance and her enjoyment of making music.
“It’s one of those beliefs where you stick with one instrument and try to get really good at that one. I just stuck with it because I enjoyed it and tried to get really good at it,” recalled Overmann.
Overmann’s musical passion was in part cultivated by her high school band director, who she also cites as the inspiration for her decision to pursue teaching music as a career.
“I decided my sophomore year of high school that I wanted to give the same experiences, feelings and opportunities to other students,” said Overmann.
Upon graduating high school, Overmann attended Missouri State University, where she became fully immersed in music alongside other aspiring musician peers and music educators. This experience allowed Overmann endless options in different types of concert, jazz and symphonic bands, as well as travel experiences that took her across the world.
“It was cool to live music for that time period, and that’s pretty much all I did other than classes. We went to London and played and did a parade there, we did the Rose Bowl in California [and] we went to Texas to play for other college band directors.”
Although Overmann had the opportunity to play with Missouri State in multiple cities, she recalls her favorite music memory being a performance locally in Missouri, at the Missouri Music Educators Conference.
“We finished [the performance] and the seniors were getting ready to leave and everybody was just crying after that moment. It was the adrenaline rush and coming down off of it. It was pure love and togetherness and knowing that we did something really awesome.”
Since then, Overmann has been teaching at Alton High School in Illinois for the past 11 years and plays a range of brass instruments from her main instrument, trumpet, to trombone and tuba, in addition to a few woodwind instruments like flute and saxophone.
As an educator, Overmann has been aware of the CHS music department’s stellar reputation for quite some time.
“They have a history and tradition of being great,” said Overmann. “And so I’m excited to join that team. I’ve known [the other band directors] for a while, and I’m excited to get to work with them on a daily basis because I know they’re both really good performers and teachers, so to be able to collaborate with them is a very neat thing.”
Of course, achieving high levels of collaboration is a tough feat with the current situation of remote learning.
“This virtual platform makes it really kind of rough because music is such an in-person, personal thing. My go-to phrase is band online isn’t a thing. But we’ll make it a thing, right?” said Overmann.
My go-to phrase is band online isn’t a thing. But we’ll make it a thing, right?”
— Alyssa Overmann
Describing her teaching style as “pretty laid-back,” Overmann says her main goals this year are to get to know students, build relationships and maintain the high level of musical performance that CHS is known for, and she has plans to accomplish these despite any challenges presented by learning online. Overmann intends to utilize small-groups to allow students to continue to play their instruments and get helpful feedback from herself and other band directors.
“I’m gonna take the opportunity to just kind of meet everybody individually and just talk; just kind of get a feel for everybody and where they’re at,” said Overmann. “So that when we can finally get back together in-person, we’re ready to rock.”