This is the seventh installment of a new chapter in our Student Features series on the blog that we will be posting leading up to the 2017 Music for All National Festival, presented by Yamaha. Music for All will be featuring three honor ensembles (Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, and the Jazz Band of America) at the Music for All National Festival, March 9th through March 11th. We look forward to getting to know all of these wonderful students who have been accepted into these prestigious ensembles!


Name: Ben Rattanavong

Hometown: Cookeville, TN

School Name: Cookeville High School

Instrument: Trumpet

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Honor Orchestra of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
Well, I’m constantly looking for opportunities and I’m always striving for new challenges. I love performing great music and meeting people who share that passion. The Honor Orchestra of America really interested me for those reasons.

What are three things you’ve learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
I’ve learned the importance of hard work and how it feels for hard work to pay off. I’ve learned plenty about teamwork and friendship. Band and Orchestra have also taught me to appreciate others more and the work they do.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
That’s hard. There have been many memorable moments. I suppose one memory that sticks out most would probably be performing in the Tennessee Govenor’s School For The Arts Wind Ensemble and Orchestra this past Summer. We played some amazing music, and I made life-long friends.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
This sounds bad, but playing and practicing trumpet is basically all my life involves; other than spending time with friends and family.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
Life Of Pi

What’s your favorite song or piece of music?
I have so many. So, a few pieces I really enjoy playing or listening to are:
-Arutunian Trumpet Concerto
-Enescu- Légend
-Mahler 5
-Maslanka- Give Us This Day
-Mussorgsky- Pictures At An Exhibition
-Shostakovich 5

Favorite ice cream flavor?

What’s your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
If I’m not practicing or doing music related things, I’m always with friends, or just relaxing playing video games.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
You just have to learn to see past what is going on in the moment. If you’re unhappy and in a rough situation, “congratulations, you’re normal”. You’re not alone, and every human being who has ever lived has had to overcome hardships and failures. Always make sure you have close friends or family you can talk to and will give you support. Don’t push away people during hard times, rather bring them close and almost always, things will get better with time.

What’s your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
I plan on pursuing a four-year degree in Music Performance. I then hope to continue my studies and education in Grad School and possibly a Doctorate. I hope to someday be performing in a top tier orchestra or become a studio professor, teaching trumpet, at a university.