Where Are They Now?

Arkansas roots lift Gorhams to Oklahoma Hall of Fame

Ever wonder where someone is now? So did we.

A new feature — titled “Where Are They Now?” — will reconnect some of Northwest Arkansas’ native sons with their friends and families still living here. We begin with a couple who have deep roots in the region, Jana Janzen Gorham and David Gorham, both of whom were inducted into the Oklahoma Bandmasters Hall of Fame during the Oklahoma Bandmasters Convention at the Renaissance Hotel in Tulsa on July 19, 2017. Jana’s dad is Eldon Janzen, longtime director of the University of Arkansas bands.

Where’s home? David Gorham was born and raised in Hope and graduated from Hope High School in 1978.

David Gorham

David Gorham

Jana Janzen Gorham

Jana Janzen Gorham

Jana Gorham was born in Texarkana and graduated from Fayetteville High School in 1976.

Where did they meet? Both were members of the Arkansas All-State Band and received their degrees from the University of Arkansas. They met in the french horn section of the Razorback Band in the fall of 1978. Both participated in marching, concert, and basketball bands, as well as the symphony orchestra, brass choir, and horn choirs. They were married in 1982.

Where have their careers taken them? After beginning their teaching careers in Oklahoma, the Gorhams spent the next five years teaching in the Van Buren school system before returning to Oklahoma to head up the band program in Owasso. The next 25 years saw the high school marching band grow to more than 350 students, most of whom also participate in one of five concert bands.

What have they accomplished? The Pride of Owasso marching band has appeared as finalists in Bands of America competitions in St. Louis, Arlington, San Antonio, Las Vegas and Atlanta and was the BOA St. Louis Super-Regional Champions in 2012. The marching band was also a finalist at the BOA Grand National Competition in Indianapolis in 2005 and 2012. The band was also selected as the Outstanding Band in the 2014 St. Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin, Ireland.

What’s their professional philosophy? Jana and David believe that music education should not only expose students to the joys of music but should also provide a learning environment for the social skills that are necessary to be successful in life. They feel “blessed” to have the opportunity to share their love of band with their students, parents, and fellow teachers.

What’s next for them? Since 2004 Jana Gorham has shifted her emphasis from high school to the younger grades. She currently co-teaches the 60-plus member beginning trumpet class and conducts one of the two seventh grade bands.

David Gorham retired in 2014 after 32 years in public school music education. He currently has 95 published works for concert band and continues to compose commissioned works.

Submit information for “Where Are They Now” to bmartin@nwadg.com.

Categories: Legacy Archive