R.I.P. Jonnie

Jonnie Scheiner killed himself on Tuesday, August 17, at age 19. I taught him for over six years, first as percussion instructor, then as band director. He grew from a tiny, amazingly talented 6th grader to a pain in the ass who quit the marching band I directed, in almost the exact same way I quit during my high school days. He literally held together the drumline during his time. If it wasn’t for him, we never would have made it through a long, humid, hot parade in Washington, DC on July 4, 2008.

Jonnie Scheiner at Band Camp 2006
Jonnie Scheiner at Band Camp 2006

The morning before I heard the news, I thought once again that I should contact Jonnie and we could go out for lunch and just talk. We had some catching up to do and things to put behind us. I regret I will never get that chance, and although his problems can’t be directly attributable to me, as I grieve I feel that somehow I am partially to blame. Jonnie left the band on bad terms, but he tried to be my friend afterwards. As he got older,we fought and disagreed; that’s how your teenage years seem to work. It was hard for me to process what I felt as betrayal for supporting him all those years. Until that point, I was one of the few that was on his side. And now, I just can’t seem to process that he’s gone, that no one will ever be able to appreciate the talent that he had on the drums, in music.

It’s completely regrettable to me that his last words to me, on Facebook, were how much he missed me.

Jonnie Scheiner backstage at Cacophony
Jonnie Scheiner backstage at Cacophony

He was always tormented, there was always some sort of drama in his
life, and apparently just had a bad breakup with a serious girlfriend. I read the words on his Facebook, thinking it was just another piece of drama in his life. And then, as I read the eulogies coming in from friends and family on his Facebook page, and those on his brother and mother’s Facebook wall, I can only believe he didn’t know how many lives he touched.

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