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Akins shares love of music with students, community

Escambia County Middle School Band Director Dan Akins works with high school band members Monday. | Andrew Garner/Atmore Advance

Escambia County Middle School Band Director Dan Akins works with high school band members Monday. | Andrew Garner/Atmore Advance

Dan Akins loves music.

Akins is applying his love of music in a teaching role as the new Escambia County Middle School band director. He was hired this year.

Akins has been teaching band for 15 years. He grew up near Atmore in the Booneville Community, which is close to McCullough.

Prior to coming back home, Akins worked in metro Atlanta, Ga., as a band director at Marietta High School.

The reason why he moved back was because his mom, Frances Akins, has Alzheimer’s disease.

“I moved back to help out with the situation,” he said.

Akins, who also serves as the assistant band director at ECHS, has always had a music background.

“My mom played piano at church, so I was always around the piano,” he said. “I had piano lessons as a child.”

While he got started on piano as a youngster, the trumpet grew to be his main instrument of choice.

“Through the band, I played the trumpet,” Akins said.

Akins graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in music education. He went on to get his master’s degree in conducting from Reinhardt University.

Akins said he’s quite happy to be back in the Atmore community, and is looking forward to developing the band program.

“I’m honored to work with (ECHS band director) Hayley (Cockrell),” he said. “I think she’s a wonderful person. She loves the community; she loves the kids.

“We’re very lucky to have her, and I’m very lucky to help her out,” he said.

Akins said there is a lot of musical talent in the community, and to be able to harness it is something that can only be done with support.

“We could use more support as far as the development of equipment and resources,” he said. “Equipment could be limiting to our students. Instruments are quite expensive.

“We’re beginning to outgrow what we have,” he said. “We could use some more.”

When asked why he loves music, Akins said it’s all about what it teaches the students, especially in the marching band.

“I love the passion musicians have for their art,” he said. “It’s really something special. I’m grateful and blessed to do something I love. I’m very impressed with the kindness of those in Atmore, from the community, and students and teachers.”

Akins is the son of Bruce and Frances Akins of Atmore.