Jacob Souder - Director of Bands
Jacob Souder is an alumnus of Bob Jones High School and the University of North Alabama. He graduated with honors with a dual Bachelors degree in Music & Education. During his time at UNA, he served as both principal alto and tenor saxophonist for the Wind Symphony, Symphonic Band, Studio Lab Jazz Band and the Jazz Combo. He also marched brass - served as baritone section leader - and played baritone saxophone as well as guitar in the jazz bands. Perhaps his greatest collegiate accomplishment and educational experience came as three-time Drum Major / Field Conductor for the nationally-renowned "Pride of Dixie" marching band. Prior to graduating Cum Laude, he completed his internship with esteemed music educators - Pat Stegall, Terry Ownby, and David Waters - at Muscle Shoals Middle and High Schools in 2010.
Mr. Souder is a member of Kappa Delta Pi, National Honor Society in Education and Alpha Tau Omega, National Leadership Fraternity. During his career as Director of Bands at Buckhorn High School, he has led the program to consistent superior ratings in all categories and captions of assessment with the Marching and Symphonic Bands, while his efforts to grow the program has led to enrollment more than doubling. During his tenure, he has started and built multiple successful instrumental, visual, and leadership-developing programs including the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Indoor Percussion, Winter Guard, Leadership Council, and the band's volunteer student service organization L.O.O.T.S - Leading Ourselves & Others Through Service - co-created and fostered alongside his wife. This group has raised tens of thousands of dollars for local charities since its inception.
Mr. Souder is an active member of the Alabama Bandmasters Association (an affiliate of the National Association for Music Education) and a member of the National Education Association. He has had the honor of being invited as a clinician and guest conductor for middle school, high school, and university camps, clinics, and honor bands. Mr. Souder enjoys playing saxophone, clarinet, and guitar, and is an avid runner and basketball player. His greatest joy, however, comes from time spent with his wife Katy and their children, Jackson and Maggie, who share their parents' love of music. Jackson loves drums and Maggie loves singing!
Mr. Souder is currently pursuing his Master's degree from the University of Alabama's School of Educational Leadership, Policy, and Technology Studies.
Katy Souder - Assistant Program Coordinator & Visual/Brass Instructor, Color Guard Sponsor
Katy Souder is a graduate of Grissom High School and an alumna of the University of North Alabama and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. During her time at UNA, she served as Principal French horn in the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and Studio Lab Jazz Band, as well as mellophone section leader in the “Pride of Dixie” marching band. She also served as the Librarian and Administrative Assistant for the UNA Bands, as well as President for Tau Beta Sigma, National Honorary Sorority of which she is a Life Member. In 2006, she earned a lead mellophone spot with Drum Corps International's Carolina Crown.
Prior to launching her education career, she was a sought after instrumental clinician and taught several high school bands across North Alabama. She received her Bachelor's degree (with honors) in Elementary Education with a specialization in Linguistics and teaching English as a secondary language (TESOL) from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She received her Master's Degree as a TESOL specialist in 2018, and possesses a keen understanding of language acquisition. She is fluent in Spanish, a skill she frequently exercises as a translator and education liaison.
Mrs. Souder is a highly respected educator invested in the Buckhorn family of schools. She is currently a Kindergarten teacher at Riverton Elementary School where she has served in varying capacities to foster and improve school-wide success and opportunities, including helping acquire a grant to create an outdoor classroom observatory overlooking the Flint River. Her teaching methods are very interactive and student-centered as she guides students in making their own discoveries. In 2018, 2019, and 2020 she was named "Madison County Soil & Water Conservation Department Educator of the Year", "North Alabama Soil & Water Conservation Area 1 Teacher of the Year", and "National Association of Geoscience Teachers Outstanding Earth Science Teacher" respectively. Mrs. Souder is a member of Kappa Delta Pi National Honor Society in Education, National Earth Science Teachers Association, National Association of Geoscience Teachers, and the National Education Association.
She and her husband love living in New Market and raising their children together with furry best friends, Penny (older Husky/Collie mix) and Marley (young German Shepherd). She can think of few things more rewarding than the prospect of her students eventually becoming members of the Buckhorn Band.
Dennis Crosby - Percussion Program Coordinator, Battery Instructor
Dennis is the Percussion Program Coordinator, Battery Percussion Instructor, and Sound Designer for the Buckhorn High School Marching Band and Indoor Percussion Ensemble. He also teaches private lessons focused on rudimental percussive techniques.
He has taught marching and concert percussion all over the Southeastern United States with such groups as Music City Drum Corps, Arab HS, Elkmont HS, Cullman HS, Fort Payne HS, Deshler HS, Cold Springs HS, and other respectable programs in the Tennessee Valley. Dennis is a very accomplished pianist and mallet percussionist.
Mr. Crosby has been a lifelong student of music starting at the age of 8 years old when he started playing music for his local church with which he is still very involved today. During high school, he had the privilege of studying rudimental drumming with the great Bill Bachman. After graduating from Richland High School in Lynnville, Tennessee, Dennis studied percussion at the University of North Alabama under the direction of Dr. Iain Moyer from 2006-2011. From 2009-2011, Dennis marched ihttp://iainmoyer.com/n the WGI Circuit with the Independent World Class group "Gateway Indoor" (marching percussion ensemble) in St. Louis, Missouri.
Dennis works as a contract sound engineer, both through local studios and his church. He and his wife, Jenni, reside in Moulton, Alabama. They own and operate a lawn maintenance company and have two children, Aurelia and Henry.
Leah Farris - Front Ensemble/Mallet Instructor
Leah Farris is a graduate of S.R. Butler High School in Huntsville, Alabama. From a young age, she flourished in musical studies and is a highly accomplished pianist. Throughout high school, her concert and marching percussion studies became highly developed. Leah went on to the University of North Alabama as a Music Education major on an instrumental music scholarship. There she studied with Dr. Iain Moyer, performing both as a member of the marching band's bass line as well as a keyboardist in the front ensemble. Leah was also a top performing percussionist in the Wind Symphony and Studio Lab Jazz Band both on piano and percussion.
Mrs. Farris received the high honor of being accepted to the "Leigh Howard Stevens' Summer Marimba Seminar", a highly competitive and prestigious two-month long camp in New Jersey. There she studied with Leigh Howard Stevens (pioneer of the innovative four-mallet grip); Michael Burritt of the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY); Eric Sammut of the Royal Academy of Music (London); and Gordon Stout from Ithaca College. Leah received her Bachelor of Science in Music Education from UNA and taught at Buckhorn Middle School (2011-2012) before getting married and starting a family. Mrs. Farris is a Life Member of Tau Beta Sigma, National Honorary Band Sorority, works for the government, and resides in New Market with her husband Paul and daughter, Riley.
Hollyn Occhiline - Color Guard Program Coordinator, Instructor
Mrs. Occhiline started her Visual Ensemble (Color Guard & Winter Guard) journey in 7th grade and quickly advanced in the activity, marching with the Seminole High School Band, just north of Orlando, Florida. Her band was a frequent BOA (Bands of America) Regional and National Championship qualifier. During her freshman year, she earned the opportunity to march in the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, California, also known as the Rose Bowl Parade. Hollyn participated in her school's highly competitive Winter Guard program all four years of high school. During her junior year, her Winter Guard team placed 3rd at WGI (Winter Guard International) Open Class Championships advancing them to "Scholastic World Class" her senior year. They made Finals at WGI Championships that year as well, in the World Class Division. After high school, Hollyn performed two seasons with Drum Corps International's Spirit of Atlanta and fulfilled a personal dream getting to perform a Winter season with Northeast Independent Winter Guard. They placed 4th in WGI World Class Championships that year.
After her performing career, she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Business and married her husband Ron. Together they have a son, Daelan. They traveled the country while Ron served in the military. Before moving to the South, Hollyn opened and operated a home daycare in Colorado. In 2017, they relocated to New Market to be closer to family, where her younger siblings were members of the Buckhorn Band. Hollyn joined Buckhorn Band staff that Fall and is excited to be a part of the community!
Mrs. Occhiline is currently pursuing her Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Alabama.