MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 30, 2013

EARNING THEIR STRIPES: Busy student finds time to write music


— One in a series on outstanding Fort Gibson students.

By Chesley Oxendine

Times Correspondent

Fort Gibson High sophomore Anna Marie Evans is a busy student. While studying to improve an already high ACT score, the 15 year old teaches a dance class, composes worship songs, plays jazz piano and continues working on a science fiction novel.

“I just do just things every day of the week,” Anna Marie says. “I don’t like being bored.”

Her parents, Shawn and Renee Evans, said their daughter has always been driven to improve and try new things.

For example, Shawn said, Anna Marie first scored a 23 on her ACT in 7th grade, which climbed to a 27 on her second attempt and then a 30 on her latest go. “We’re pretty sure she’s going to score higher next time,” he said. “She’s already scored a 34 on her reading and English sections.”

High English scores are perhaps no surprise given Anna Marie’s primary hobbies of reading and writing — she’s written ten chapters and counting of a science fiction novel.

“It’s about a family of six, two parents and four kids,” she said. “Their parents get taken and the kids are trying to rescue them, and they end up in this world they know nothing about.”

Anna Marie said she started the novel after running out of reading material during the summer.

“I finished reading all the books I had, and I had lost my library card,” she said. “So I decided to write one of my own.”

The sophomore isn’t content with just prose, however. She has also composed “around twenty” songs, some of which have been performed by the praise team at First Baptist Church of Fort Gibson.

“My songs are all Christian music,” Anna Marie said. “It’s to worship God.” She enjoys seeing her work performed in front of others, or singing it herself, she said.

“It makes the words mean that much more to me, and to other people,” Anna Marie said.

Shawn Evans says his daughter’s songwriting is partially guided by her background — both himself and wife Renee have backgrounds in music.

“It’s surreal seeing her work performed,” he said. “There’s some influence there, but it comes from God for her.”

After her sophomore year at Fort Gibson High School, Anna Marie plans to try attending the Oklahoma School of Science and Math, a residential high school in Oklahoma City.

“She’ll be moving out as a sixteen year old,” he said. Shawn says her faith drives Anna Marie to work so hard at what she does.

“There’s a verse in the Bible that says to do things with all your might,” he said. “She’s taken it to heart. Everything she tries, she becomes excellent at it.” He said that while he has high expectations for Anna Marie, she has surpassed them all.

“She can do it all,” he said. “She’s passed us. I used to be into songwriting, but she’s written way past anything I can do.”