A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Sophia Anasis

A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Sophia Anasis

Sophia Anasis, the band director at William Fegely Middle School, fell in love with band early in her schooling. Ignited by a passion for teaching, Anasis seeks to lead the next generations of band students.

“I think band really teaches discipline,” said Anasis. “You start celebrating the little victories with them as they put in the time and effort in making their first sound to hitting high notes. You see them develop and grow over time. In a time where there’s a lot of instant gratification in our society and with technology, band helps show kids that if you put the time in the work, it will all come together.”

Anasis, a native of Columbus, Ohio, has been building up her band accolades since elementary school. Anasis first drew inspiration from her school band director, Jessica Sneeringer, who taught her from fifth to 10th grade at Columbus Academy. 

“In the fifth grade, I chose the trombone just because I liked the weird sounds that I could make,” said Anasis. “I fell in love with it. I joined a bunch of extracurricular bands and orchestras, and then I just kept practicing and loving all of it. My mentor, Jessica Sneeringer, really helped me fall in love with band. Later I ended up at a boarding arts high school where I immersed myself in music and band.”

Anasis made the transition to Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan to finish high school before she pursued her bachelor’s degree at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. Anasis began college as a trombone performance major. However, the summer before her freshman year, her role as a camp counselor at Columbus Academy became the motivation for her decision to work with middle schoolers as a future career. She made the switch and eventually obtained her bachelor’s of music education in the spring of 2022.     

Following graduation from Indiana University, Anasis moved with her boyfriend Dylan Ellinger to Chesterton. She eagerly applied and accepted a position at William Fegely Middle School in Portage, where she teaches five different band classes.

“On the lightest work week, I show up around 7:45. I have an advisory class, before I moved to my second class, which is intermediate woodwinds. This typically comprises my seventh-grade woodwinds and percussionists. Those are oboes, flutes, clarinets, saxophones, and all the percussion students in one class. My third class is my beginning woodwinds, which has my sixth graders and some first-year players. Then, I reach my advanced bands, which are typically only eighth graders. Those are all the trumpets, French horns, trombones, and trumpets in one class—split up between intermediate and beginner.”  

Throughout the school year, Anasis works to ensure that her students are given the best opportunity to succeed by preparing them for all performances throughout the academic year.

“I am super proud of our band,” said Anasis. “My intermediate and advanced band both got gold at the Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA) competition. We also do solo and ensemble, where they can do quartets and trios. We spend much of our time preparing for our concerts. We have a beginning concert in October, our holiday concert in December, our spring concert in March and then our final concert in May.”

In light of her experiences teaching in Portage, Anasis is thankful for both her opportunity to student teach in her last semester of college and for the supportive staff guiding her.

“I love my co-workers and the environment that is at Fegeley and throughout Portage,” said Anasis. “I love how open everybody is and how willing they are to help each other out. I had mentors throughout my first year and still now at Fegely. Deb Sherwood, the orchestra choir director, was my go-to person for questions about everything. I also have the whole department at Portage, along with help at the high school and by the band director at Willow Creek Middle School. I’m always asking questions and they’re very gracious.” 

Outside of the classroom, Anasis continues to hone her passion for playing the trombone and performs in two bands that perform locally around Northwest Indiana: Windiana Concert Band and Valparaiso University Community Concert Band.

“Valparaiso Community Band is something that anybody can join,” said Anasis. “We play easier music. It is a great way for people who love playing, but don’t want to major in music or just want to play their instrument after high school. We have a wide range of people—from advanced high schoolers to those maybe in their 70s.”  

When she is not teaching and performing, Anasis is very passionate about health and fitness and is often lifting weights or walking. She works out five days a week. She is also an avid reader and has an affinity for the fantasy genre. She is most looking forward to the summer to sightsee and explore nature in picturesque Alaska.