The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Student musician will be missed

By Michael McFall, Staff Writer

Korin Owens no longer hears her son’s piano music filling the house.

She used to stop and listen to the music. She would wander the house until she found her son, Christopher Warren Owens, playing from memory.

Korin Owens’ family will remember Thursday, in the words of Don McLean, as the day the music died. Owens, a 20-year-old sophomore at the U, committed suicide last week. He is survived by his parents, Warren and Korin, his brother Cameron and his sisters Jessica, Erica and April.

“His music was his love, it came totally natural for him,” Korin Owens said. Owens, who played the piano, guitar and bass guitar, could hear any sound, musical or not, and name its pitch, note or chord progression, she said. He even memorized 48 guitar songs within a matter of days, a demand he met for a neighborhood band, Jaboom, in which he played bass. He also took home armfuls of high awards from music festivals, which helped earn him a scholarship at the U, she said.

Lindsey Lambert, a junior in music, said though she never knew Owens, she heard amazing stories of his melodies filling the music hall.

Owens’ music was used in the background of a 2005 Sundance Film Festival entry. The sound track was a five-piece guitar score. Everyone thought it sounded like an orchestra, when in fact Owens had composed and played all five parts and mixed them together, said Mike Toronto, his friend and neighbor.

“Ironically enough, the movie he wrote it for was about preventing suicide,” Toronto said.

After seven years of playing guitar and more than a decade at the piano, Owens had developed chronic back pain eight months ago, on top of developing clinical depression at age 17.

During one performance, he had to lie down on his back the whole time. Not long ago, he finally told his mother about it, but by then it was a little too late, she said. Despite going to several doctors and diligently following their regimens, the pain forced him to change his major from music to chemical engineering last semester.

“He was pretty silent about his pain,” Korin Owens said. “We had to dig deep to figure it out.”

Owens’ death is the second in the past three weeks for the Owens family, after Matthew Buhler, a family friend, committed suicide Jan. 16. Korin Owens said she beseeches friends and family to watch their loved ones closely for any signs of problems and to be open with them, and show them all the love in the world.

“Just always make sure that you know that you let them know how you feel, and that they are the most valuable person you can imagine,” she said.

[email protected]

Christopher Owens

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