Meredith Owen has been working with color guards for eight years.
Meredith Owen has been working with color guards for eight years.
Just one year after graduating from Ridgeland High School, 19-year-old Meredith Owen will return as a Titan.

Owen, who was a member of the RHS band for seven years, returns as the 2014-2015 color guard instructor.

She is ecstatic about the chance to return to her alma mater just a short time after parting ways.

"I had the best high school band experience anybody could ever ask for," Owen said.

Though she joined the Ridgeland band in sixth grade, she did not get her first taste of color guard until high school. She credits band with her involvement in other areas of the community such the Mississippi All -State Lions Band, which took her to Hawaii and Germany to perform.

Owen spent one year at Mississippi State University where she helped Statement Independent Winterguard rise from ashes.

"We rebuilt it," she explained. "We got some people together and we competed." The fledgling group earned a bronze medal at the Mississippi Indoor Association's competition, an indoor percussion and winter guard circuit.

The 2013 RHS graduate will take online classes at Holmes during the upcoming semester in order to better facilitate her transition into teaching. She plans to attend the University of Southern Mississippi the following school year where she will major in dance education.

At Ridgeland High, she will choreograph fall color guard routines for marching season and will even introduce a new winter guard program into the mix. "Honestly, winter guard is my favorite," admitted Owen. "It's strictly color guard. It is a lot of dance, and a lot of the flag work and the weapon work is more complicated to show off what the color guard can do without being overshadowed by the band."

Though color guard originated with the military, Owen explained that it has since become an art form. She is no stranger to the world of dance. Trained in classical ballet, she also practices lyrical, contemporary, jazz and hip hop styles during her free time.

Keith Moffat, who will enter his second year as Director of Bands for Ridgeland, shared that he is always proud to watch students like Owen progress.

"I think it's great," said Moffat of the most recent addition to the staff. "It was a very easy hire. I was actually looking for a guard instructor, and she came to talk to me. I had no doubt at all about what she could do."

Moffat, who has spent 17 years working for Ridgeland schools, announced that two additional staff members will be added to the Ridgeland roster this year. Jill Shumaker will take the helm at Olde Towne Middle School as the Eighth Grade Band Director while Josh Craft will serve as Percussion Instructor.

"We're busy working on our new show called Blue," said Moffat. "We're very excited. The band is as big-or bigger-than it's ever been, and we're ready to go."