Skip to Main Content

Big Bend Community College William C. Bonaudi Library

William C. Bonaudi Library's Down the Research Rabbit Hole | Issue 17 | Dr. John Owens Music Faculty | Different Drum

by Rhonda Kitchens on 2022-01-13T14:26:00-08:00 in Education, Library and Research Skills, Music | 0 Comments


Image of Dr. John Owens Banner



You have had a varied and interesting life.  Could you give a sort of summary of your pre-BBCC life?​

I'm not sure how far back you want me to go, but here are some of the highlights. I was a percussionist in the US Army band, which gave me the opportunity to live in Germany and play in about 20 countries. I was also a drummer for Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm in California. As a performer, I have run a number of my own bands, recording with various musicians, toured with an OC Punk Rock Band, and was a street drummer in Washington DC for a few years. When I lived in Germany a friend asked me to help with his drummers and at that moment, I knew I loved teaching. Since then, I taught music at St Augustine HS, Page HS, Coconino Community College, Kent State University, and Lake Michigan College. In addition, I served as the music expert for the Department of Defence Education Activity and consultant for the non-profit Little Kids Rock. ​I earned my Ph.D. and Masters in Music from Kent State University. I have also written a number of articles (published internationally), two books, and I am currently completing a book titled Street Beats: The People, History, & Grooves. 


When I first met you, we talked a little bit about the instruments you discovered in the music department. Could you describe one? Have any been brought back into use?

There are a few crazy instruments that we have at BBCC, such as an old Fender Rhodes, some cool tube amps, and Mariachi instruments. We have started using some of these instruments, as the tube amps have been used by the BBCC Viking Percussion and there are plans to add Mariachi back into our offerings soon. 


One of your assignments gives students a chance to look at the richness of music history.  Have you ever discovered something amazing in your research? What types of journals, groups, organizations, professionals, or media to you follow to keep up with your work?

Interesting question. So, I would say that I discover amazing things all the time. Probably a few times a week. For example, working on my current book Street Beats: The People History, & Grooves, I found a number of historical connections between modern street drumming and musicians in ancient Persian markets and Greek street performers. Likewise, I love ethnography and case study research; so, I am constantly engaging in interviews and observations of musicians in my areas of interest. 

There are a number of academic journals that I find essential to my field and research. In fact, I was an editorial assistant for Contributions to Music Education (music education research journal) when working on my Ph.D., which gave me some insight intothe peer review and editorial processes. Anyways, the journals I use on a regular basis in my research and lecture preparation include The Journal for Research in Music Education; Journal of MusicologyPercussive Notes; Action, Criticism, & Theory for Music Education. ​In addition, I focus a lot of my research source material; so, reading the journals and writings of musicians and scholars is a big part of my research. For example, Beethoven's Heiligenstadt Testament or Plato's Republic, as both provide insights into their views on music and life. 


You have been sharing music out in the community at the farmer's market and you've been hosting events in nontraditional spaces like the library.  How does this fit your mission? What more do you have planned?  

I participate in a lot of music outreach in area schools, as I have provided multiple music workshops at Moses Lake High School, Ephrata High School, Othello High School, Quincy High School, Soap Lake High School, and others. Of course, the BBCC Percussion Ensemble performed an original work in the BBCC Library. I do share music in the community, such as a drum circle I facilitate at the Moses Lake Museum and performances at local venues (Farmers Market, Pirate Regatta, Private Events, Community Events). 


Regarding my mission, I see the Moses Lake Area as a culturally and musically rich area. While there are some traditions that are established, my hope is to fill the gap and enhance what is already being offered, which will strengthen area music programs, musicians, and aspiring musicians. A good example of this was the master sessions we had the BBCC Viking Percussion performance of "Viking War Chant," which featured three musicians in the area. 

Regarding what I have planned, I would say I'm just getting started. I have seen BBCC Viking Percussion improve a lot since its inception; so, that group will continue to push musical boundaries. Likewise, I have plans to increase our offerings and musical activities at BBCC and in the community

​What book, poem, or study have you read that engaged you so deeply you were changed?

That is a tough one, as I read a lot and frequently refer to classic literature in my lectures, as music is informed by just about every aspect of society. On a personal level, the two books that I refer to a lot (too much according to my children) are Homer's Odyssey and Thoreau's Walden. Both works are filled with wisdom that I strive to live by. While there is a myriad of profound insights in each work, I personally endeavor to "simplify, simplify, simplify" as Thoreau advised and have the grit, determination, and stoic focus of Odysseus


 Add a Comment


  Return to Blog
This post is closed for further discussion.



The William C. Bonaudi
Library provides 
study space,
a large and growing
collection of books 

multiple online resources,
and other library services. 

We are committed to meeting
the needs of
BBCC's students,
staff, faculty, and those 

living within the
Big Bend Community College
service district.





Toll Free: 877-745-1212 x2350


 1800/Library & GCATEC

Physical Address:
7611 Bolling St.

William C. 
Bonaudi Library, 
7662 Chanute St.
Moses Lake, WA 98837

Reserve Computer Lab 1801 or 1802

Our Team

Library and eLearning Director:
Tim Fuhrman

Faculty Librarian: 
Rhonda Kitchens

eLearning Coordinator, Librarian:
Geri Hopkins 

Program Assistant, and Purchasing:

Alex Lopez

Library Systems Specialist

Amanda Miller

Cataloging, Interlibrary Loan
Teresa Sweeney