At Group Travel Network, we feel that everyone who crosses our path is intended to become a welcomed member of our extended family. These individuals come in many forms including clients, vendors, colleagues and more. We are so proud of our family, we decided to share some of the backgrounds to some of these incredible people. Each month we are going to spotlight a member of our family tree. One such GTN Family Member has accomplished so much, but not without major obstacles along the way.
Many of us feel the need to do ‘something great’ with our lives right after high school, like study to become a doctor, join the military, or another field that helps others. Jon Bowman felt that his ‘something great’ was studying Pre-Med and cultivate a career in the medical field. While it was an honorable aspiration, Jon quickly found out it was not his true passion. He realized his passion lived in the band world, so he quickly changed his life direction and began heading down the road of inspiring young lives through music. 19 years later and Jon is still inspiring young lives, but he could not have succeeded without the help of some amazing mentors through his life.
Jon Bowman’s music story is a little different than most band directors. He did not live and breathe band like most directors do growing up because Jon didn’t join his high school band until his senior year of high school! His high school band director, Rusty Logan, was gracious enough to give Jon the opportunity to play that year and that kind gesture led to a life change. After enrolling in Auburn University, he switched his major early on to become a band director. It wasn’t always a walk in the park. His Marching Band Director at AU, Rick Good, wasn’t sure if he was dedicated enough for the career, so Mr. Good would challenge Jon. These challenges helped Jon focus on what he wanted in life and Mr. Good helped him see the light in the hard days. In addition, Dr. Thomas Smith taught Jon how to handle himself with humility, professionalism and how to become a Christian role model.
Fast-forward to today, Mr. Bowman wakes up at 5:45am and is out the door an hour later. Classes at Lowndes High School start at 8am and let out at 1:30pm only to be followed by rehearsals until as late as 7pm. During the summer, he takes one trip with his whole family (which includes 5 kids!) and one trip with just his wife, Angee. This is much-needed relaxation before 2 weeks of band camp!
The Lowndes High School Marching Band, also known as the Georgia Bridgemen, is consistently one of the largest marching bands in the south, and Mr. Bowman is their fearless leader. The Georgia Bridgemen set the standard for dedication, creativity, and musicianship. Their dynamic shows have entertained thousands in venues ranging from high school football stadiums to the Georgia Dome and The Super Dome. Band members have performed for presidents, governors, and supreme court justices from coast to coast. They’ve also performed in numerous national parades, such as National Cherry Blossom in DC, the Rose Bowl Parade in California and this fall they’ll be performing in the 6ABC/Dunkin Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade! With all this traveling, Mr. Bowman said that one of his favorite travel moments with his students is when they experience something new for the first time, like seeing Times Square or the US Capitol. He pushes his students to be the best version of themselves and the best collective band they can be together. Fittingly, his favorite quote is “We are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it, because in the process we will catch excellence. I am not remotely interested in just being good.” - Vince Lombardi
Jon Bowman’s wish for his students is that they continue to play music- whether in a large or small venue, church groups or college marching bands. He also wishes that they live a full life and travel outside of Southern Georgia, as so much life is to be lived outside of a hometown. The Georgia Bridgemen director is highly appreciated and valued at Lowndes, because students were asked to write an appreciation note to their favorite teacher, and Mr. Bowman received over 120 notes on that day, last year! It was then that he realized just how much of an impact he has on his students and that the small things can make a big difference.
Here at Group Travel Network, we love and appreciate you too, Jon Bowman!
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