Band director expands horizons

Sarah Madl

So, I am going to have you all take a little trip down memory lane.

I want everyone to think back to when they were in high school. Think about a teacher you had who made the entire crazy journey of high school worth the ride. For myself and many others, that teacher is a man by the name of Steve Holloman. Here’s a little information for those of you who don’t know him. Holloman is the band director at Topeka High School as well as Randolph Elementary.

On a small side note, I pride myself on being an honest writer and I need to acknowledge I am one of his former students from Randolph then later at Topeka High.

Moving on, this man has been in the game of teaching music for over 30 years. Before his days of teaching at Topeka High, Holloman taught for five years at Boswell Junior High School and then for a year at Robinson Middle School. However, while at Robinson, he was also an assistant band director at Topeka High School (the rest is history).

Not only does he teach but he sits on the board of directors for Topeka Jazz Workshop, Inc. and Topeka Community Concert Series. Holloman is also a member of the Kansas Music Educators’ Association. In his spare time, Holloman plays clarinet and does his share of conducting with the Marshall Civic Band. With all this going on, when I asked him about the most rewarding aspect of everything he does he had this to say:

“It’s great to see the students I have starting at Randolph and again at Topeka High grow through the years. That’s where things come full circle for me.”

In looking at the community he had these thoughts to offer:

“Our mentality is sports and bar food over a show at TPAC. When you bring George Strait to TPAC he sells out but when you bring Wynton Marsalis to Topeka, he doesn’t. Topeka Symphony concerts do well along with Community Concert Series, but it’s an older demographic. We can change the image of Topeka slowly but you can’t force it. You really have to take a long, hard look at the community.”

His advice for those who would like to expand their horizons is to do your research. However, he had a few suggestions if you need a little help getting started in your quest for great music in Topeka:

• Coleman Hawkins Jazz Festival, the last weekend of May, family-friendly and free.

• Sunflower Music Festival at Washburn, first week in June, classical music, family-friendly and free.

• WU choirs, bands and orchestras, family friendly and free.

Basically, Holloman suggests the first step is getting off the couch and seeing what Topeka has to offer.