By Aaron Gilbert, communications director, and Tony Killian, marketing director, of Columbus Pride Bands
Megan Jacoby-Banks works for Columbus City Schools as a middle school band teacher. She has performed with the Columbus Pride Bands since 2016 as a band member, section leader and is a featured artistic director in the upcoming Pride Band Alliance Conference, “The Heart of it All,” hosted in Columbus, July 2024. See her performing on Oct. 28 with the Columbus Pride Concert Band in Boo!
Aaron/Tony: What got you interested in percussion?
Megan: Next to the human voice, percussion is one of the oldest, most primitive and most widespread expressions of our humanity through music. I find that very fascinating! Plus, I’m naturally a rhythm-oriented person, and there’s something deeply grounding for me about drums in particular.
Aaron/Tony: Who has influenced you as an artist?
Megan: My parents, by continually nurturing my musical growth from birth through college. My music teachers and professors impart their knowledge onto me and being with me in the trenches of my musical growth. Last but not least, my musical idols inspired me and shaped my style and approach to music. Some notable artists who inspire me are drummer Zac Farro of Paramore, drummer/songwriter Anderson Paak, multi-percussionist Gloria Estefan and drummer Nate Smith of Vulfpeck.
Aaron/Tony: What’s the best thing about the Columbus art scene right now?
Megan: The sheer volume of diverse artists in the greater Columbus area blows me away. Makers, musicians and performers are creating a broad interconnected community. There are so many opportunities to connect, create and collaborate with other artists.
Aaron/Tony: Are you involved in any other groups or bands outside of Columbus Pride Bands?
Megan: I am the main singer, songwriter and guitarist for Made of the Mist. We are a three-piece band based in Columbus with queer funk punk vibes. I also have a funk/jam-band project called Dankkopolis that I have been slowly working to build up. We need a regular bassist. If you know anyone, hit my IG inbox.
Aaron/Tony: How does each group you are in fill your love of music?
Megan: My favorite part of performing is the experience of making music with others. Because each group has different players, instrumentation and overall styles, I get to have different experiences with each group. The Columbus Pride Bands satisfies my desire for an intellectual musical experience. Made of the Mist is where I can be emotional and rebellious. Dankkopolis is where I can be vibey and experimental.
Aaron/Tony: What music do you have on repeat?
Megan: So, I’m really into albums. Albums I’m currently listening to on repeat: “Walking Wounded” by Bayside, “Stick Up Kids” by Bad Rabbits, “This Is Why” by Paramore and “GUTS” by Olivia Rodrigo.
Aaron/Tony: What is something that you would love to share with someone that is wanting to pursue music?
Megan: One: consume a broad musical diet in your regular listening; it strengthens your musical vocabulary and provides you with a broad musical vocabulary to draw from in practice. And two: practice doesn’t have to be boring, but it does have to be intentional! Switch up the context, style, tempo, etc. Just make sure you are doing it intentionally, and you aren’t just mindlessly vibing during your practice time.
You can catch Megan Jacoby-Banks performing with the Columbus Pride Concert Band’s “Boo!” concert on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Lincoln Theatre. Tickets are now available through the CAPA website: my.cbusarts.com/6307
This article is part of a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council as part of the Art Makes Columbus campaign. Explore a calendar of events, public art database and artist stories at columbusmakesart.com. To learn more about GCAC grants visit gcac.org.