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I have often been asked, “How did you come up with ‘Shawk’?” The story begins in 1982. I was sitting in the lobby of the Fine Arts Building at the University of Kentucky as music majors tend to do. My fraternity brothers suddenly began to call me Shawk instead of Shaun. Well this continued on for several weeks, until I finally became thoroughly annoyed and lost it. They were good sports and showed me the latest issue of Contest Guild. Sure enough, listed as tied for third in the Individual Soprano Bugle category was Shawk Owens! I had lost my first name forever! Everyone in school and in the drum corps activity started calling me Shawk. After a while, it began became less of an irritating nickname, and I actually accepted it as a new stage name.

Normally, this would be the end of this story, but wait there is more! Several years later I was attending a Christmas party hosted by DCI Executive Director Don Pesceone. I was having a good time and enjoying some holiday cheer when a woman burst into the room excitedly yelling my new name. “You’re Shawk, you’re Shawk!,” she kept saying. This wonderful lady was so very pleased that we were able to finally meet. She was Mary Stearns, and also worked for Drum Corps International. Mary then proceeded to tell me how she had purposefully changed the spelling of my name in all of DCI’s press releases. I even made it onto their calendar. She said, “I needed a stage name more befitting my on field personality.” Well Mary, you picked a great one! It has stuck to me so well that my friends still call me Shawk to this day. Thanks!

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