Gainesville teen no ordinary drummer - he's deaf
GAINESVILLE, Ga. - Doug Loggins may be deaf, but he's not tone deaf. This 17-year-old Gainesville boy has been deaf since infancy but plays drums in his high school marching band and plans a career in music therapy.
Teachers say he's a natural musician. Doug just calls it "a gift from God."
He's a senior at North Hall High School and can make out only faint sounds with the help of hearing aids. Most tones sound the same to him, but his love of music runs deep.
"It's unexplainable. I can't explain what I feel," Loggins said. "Sometimes I hear music when there's no music playing."
Stephanie McBryde, a Hall County School System deaf interpreter who works with Loggins in all his classes, quips, "That's called being crazy." Loggins just laughs.
The outgoing teenager is quick to offer a witty one-liner or rib one of his teachers. But his walk through life has been full of challenges.
Born premature in nearby Habersham County, Loggins was treated with a medicine that destroyed the nerves in his ears. It wasn't until he was 2 years old that doctors confirmed the boy had trouble hearing.
"Doug could not communicate with us, but we could communicate with him. The doctor said he must have taught himself to lip-read as a baby," mother Marjorie Loggins told The Times newspaper in Gainesville.
Loggins was teased a lot early in his school life, but teachers and his mother say it never got him down. When he first visited North Hall High as a fifth-grader, he decided he wanted to be in a marching band one day.
"I wanted to see if I could make a difference," he said. "I wanted to bridge a gap between the hearing world and the deaf world. I believe hearing has nothing to do with what abilities are."
The decision surprised his mom. She thought, "OK, we'll see what we need to do."
Band teachers in middle school and now at high school had no problem teaching the energetic Loggins, who has mastered bass drums and auxiliary percussion interments such as the clave, congas and cymbals.
"He's a great role model for everybody," said Alan Kirkland, band director at North Hall. "He's always excited and always enthusiastic about what we're doing. I would take a band of Doug's if I had the opportunity."
After high school, the teen hopes to stay in the music world, aiming for a music therapy degree from the University of Georgia.
"I like to help people and I like music, so that's a perfect opportunity," Loggins said.
Information from: The Times, http://www.gainesvilletimes.com
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