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‘The Real Deal’

Humans of the Hawk Nest: Junior Evan Huegel
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Photo published with permission by Sara Anderson
AHS junior Evan Huegel is a highly involved student at Ankeny High School who is admired by students and teachers alike for his numerous talents and fun-loving personality. He captivates the crowd with his rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” for the Ankeny Marching Hawks production of “Catch Me If You Can.”

The muggy, midsummer marching band rehearsals are not what all band kids live for. However, beginning band as an alto saxophone player is different. One of the section leaders is serenading the band with the sweet sounds of his saxophone while tossing out fruit snacks to the incoming marchers. 

Evan Huegel (he/they), a junior at Ankeny High School, is an inspiring teen in multiple fine arts programs, and many would reportedly argue that he is talented in all of them. One of his most notable roles is playing alto saxophone in the Ankeny band program.

“I knew from the time I had my first lessons with Evan in sixth and seventh grade, ‘this kid is going to be the real deal,’” head band director Jennifer Williams said. “I’m really excited about what they are going to accomplish and what they can do as a musician and just as a person.” 

Huegel is known for his intriguing solos that he puts on the marching band field. He performed the “Smooth Criminal” solo in the Marching Hawks 2023 show “Catch Me if You Can.” The solo featured Huegel’s saxophone, as well as his own take on some of Michael Jackson’s iconic dance moves. 

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“[We] had said to watch the Michael Jackson ‘Smooth Criminal’ video and watching what Evan put out on the field that day was so fun to see,” Williams said. “And the crowd reaction was so fun. He is such a performer and it is so great.”

One of Huegel’s most prideful accomplishments is becoming a section leader in the band program. 

“For me, the biggest achievement is going to all of these activities and being in a leadership position where I get to make connections with people. That, to me, is sometimes an achievement, to be like, ‘I talked to so-and-so today! I did it!’” Huegel exclaimed. 

Music has always been an important part of daily life for Huegel, and he plans to keep it that way for years to come. 

“I know that music is going to be a part of my life for the rest of forever,” Huegel explained. “Whether that is me playing in a band when I’m older or just singing in an adult choir or something. I know music is going to be around for me for a while.” 

Huegel has encouraged others to follow in their footsteps of leadership and musical participation. 

“They are a great section leader which inspired me to start section leading maybe next year,” junior alto saxophone Carson Mains said. “He’s very generous as a person and helps out on the marching band field and in the concert band area.” 

Along with band, Huegel belongs to Ankeny’s drama program as well. Huegel recently starred as Gay Wellington in Ankeny High School’s production of “You Can’t Take It With You.” 

“Evan knows how to perform. They know all eyes are on them, and they put on a show,” senior Noah Yeager said, an audience member at the play. 

An area where Huegel spends the majority of his time is in the choral music department. He is involved in Ankeny’s top concert choir, as well as the Visual Adrenaline show choir, and is a member of the Iowa All-State choir. 

“All-State takes a lot of work,” choir director Ben Walters said. “They [Evan] definitely put in lots and lots of time to make that a reality. You can not be successful and put in a little bit of work.” 

Huegel inspires people both on and off the stage as well. Parker Davis, a sophomore in Visual Adrenaline and an alto saxophone player, believes that Huegel inspires him to improve himself in those areas. 

“[Evan makes me] want to have better tone and better diction, actually wanting to get better,” Davis said. “It is the same thing for band and choir.” 

Huegel understands his impact on his peers but remains humble. 

“Sometimes a lot of people look up to me, which is very flattering and I am glad I get to be that person for someone,” Huegel said. “But it is also sometimes a lot of pressure because if I do not do something right, everybody notices.” 

Nonetheless, Huegel’s peers and teachers see him in a positive light as he captures their hearts. 

“[Evan is] a very kind person and very aware of people’s feelings and of emotions, and I appreciate that,” Walters said. “Their work ethic is very admirable.”

Evan is just one example of a student who appreciates the arts at AHS. 

“It does not matter who you are or what you do well, music just works for everyone,” Williams said. 

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About the Contributor
Josie Babcock, Staff Reporter
Josie Babcock is a senior at Ankeny High School. She is involved in marching band, jazz band, National Honors Society, throws for track and field, and dances competitively outside of school. Josie plans to attend the University of Iowa after high school to study english and secondary education. A fun fact about Josie is that she enjoys collecting vinyl records and listening to music in her free time.
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    Linda HuegelFeb 1, 2024 at 4:01 pm

    This article is soooo true

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