The fifty-eighth installment of a new series on the blog that we will be posting throughout the month of December. As some of you are aware, Music for All will be taking an Honor Band to the 2017 Rose Parade. Our members were selected by audition for the ensemble and come from all across the United States. We are looking forward to coming together for the first time as a band at the end of December and we hope this series will allow us all to get to know some (hopefully most!) of the members of this awesome ensemble!
Name: Reed Ulery
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
School Name: Mt. Lebanon High School
What made you decide to apply to be a part of the band?
I’ve never been a part of a performing group of a scope this wide–the whole country–and the opportunity to march in the Tournament of Roses Parade, to work with our staff, and to meet the other musicians is truly once in a lifetime. On top of that, my high school isn’t very competitive, so I rarely get the chance to immerse myself in the cutting-edge marching band progress that happens at BOA events, so it was also a gamble on my part to see if I could hold my own with other kids from competitive programs.
What part of the trip are you most excited about?
I’m honestly most excited about the parade itself. I’ve performed with concert band, choral, and orchestral groups like the BOA Honor Band in that they’re mixed groups of driven, dedicated, talented students who come together for a short time to make fantastic music. I absolutely love the environment, progress, and camaraderie that develops out of a shared experience like the upcoming parade. I’ve never participated in a group of this size or scope, and I can’t wait to experience the performance in the parade.
What are three things you’ve learned from being involved in band?
I’ve learned leadership, time management, and goal setting, and all three of these skills work hand-in-hand. Through my experiences moving during high school and being a two-year drum major, I’ve had opportunities to work with a wide variety of my peers, staff, and leaders. I’ve also had times to lead my band in new ways and through a director transition, and those experiences shape my leadership style. Time management and goal setting are a crucial pair: you have to be organized to accomplish your goals, and you need goals to drive self-discipline required to effectively manage your resources. Band both gives me opportunities to set goals for myself and my ensembles, and chances to learn management skills to accomplish what I’d like to do, both by myself and with others.
Most memorable moment in band?
This year at band camp, my co-drum major and I taught our whole band, (drumline included), a dynamic warmup and ballet body routine. For many, this really isn’t out of the ordinary, but for a relatively traditional program, the concept of “doing ballet in band” was completely foreign, and many were skeptical. However, not only did we learn the routine together, but now we use it to start every rehearsal, and even the drumline buys in and has seen the benefits. Plus, this always makes for a great story: “I taught a marching band ballet!”
Besides band, what are you involved in at school?
Symphony Orchestra, Concert Choir, Chamber Choir, Men’s Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, Musical, Link Crew (Freshman Orientation Team), National Honor Society, Environmental Science Student Fuel Cell Research Team, Mu Alpha Theta Honor Society, Thespian Society, and Stage Crew.
What’s your favorite book?
The Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger
What’s your favorite song or piece of music?
-Sleep, Eric Whitacre (Choral Version)
-The Planets Suite, Gustav Holst
-The Judge, Twenty One Pilots
-Dear Theodosia, Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda
-Sorry, I couldn’t pick just one!
Favorite ice cream flavor?
Cookies and Cream
What’s your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I’d like to major in Music Education with minors in Psychology, French, and maybe engineering for my undergraduate degree at either Indiana University Bloomington, Northwestern University, Vanderbilt University, or Ohio State University. I’d like to earn certificate for both instrumental and vocal music education so that I could direct a band, a choir, or an orchestra, or maybe even more than one ensemble! As of now, I’d also like to pursue a post-graduate degree in either Horn Performance, Conducting, or Education. My career goals are to some day be a collegiate director of bands or choirs with classes in Music Education. I want to help other people love music and helping others as much as I do!
Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
I have participated in the Music for All Summer Symposium for three years: one year in the marching band track as a mellophone player as a rising sophomore, and two years in the drum major institute as a rising junior, and again as a rising senior and squad leader. My high school wind ensemble will also attend the Music for All National Concert Band Festival in March, 2017.
Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I’ve never had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! I was allergic to peanuts as a child, but since growing out of the allergy, I’ve just never had one. I like peanut butter, and I like jelly, but I’ve never had them together. For a music-related something interesting/unique, I got to meet Eric Whitacre last year at the West Virginia University High School Choral Festival, and I even shook his hand! A mass choir of over 600 high schoolers performed Sleep and Seal Lullaby after rehearsing with Eric Whitacre, and it was an absolutely unforgettable experience.