This is the fifth 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: Solomon Alber

Hometown: Pleasanton, CA

School Name: Amador Valley High School

Instrument: Tenor Saxophone

Which Ensemble Are You In?
Jazz Band of America

What made you decide to apply to be a part of the ensemble?
I had heard about the Jazz Band of America from some friends of mine and from the videos of some of the past ensemble performances I gathered. I noticed the level high level of musicianship and my goal was to be apart of the band.

What are three things you’ve learned from being involved in band or orchestra?
I have learned that music, especially jazz music is a very involved activity that requires teamwork, yet also calls for individuality and uniqueness. Each member in the band needs to be solid and consistent when playing their part. Finally, musicians need to communicate with each other, whether it’s between the drums and the bass in the rhythm section when keeping the time or the interaction between the soloist and the rhythm section.

Most memorable moment in band or orchestra?
My most memorable moment in band was during a solo section where I was soloing and all of a sudden the bass started to play off of the melodies I was creating. This then led to a distinct conversation between the rhythm section and myself as the soloist, that was innovative and conducive to a unique form of creativity. At one point, I remember utilizing the snare drum rhythms that the drummer was implementing into his swing feel.

Besides band/orchestra, what are you involved in at school?
Besides band, I am involved in UNICEF events held at my school, computer science projects formed with other students, and volunteering for extracurricular events held at school.

What book have you read that you would recommend?
A book I have read is called Ready Player One and I would recommend this book because it is full of suspense and does a superb job utilizing elements of 80s pop culture in a technological dystopian theme, in addition to this weaving in a creative storyline.

What’s your favorite song or piece of music?
My favorite piece of music is called “Danza del Altiplano” by Leo Brouwer because it has a virtuoso quality yet, it also possesses a culturally rich and blues influenced sound.

Favorite ice cream flavor?
Mint chocolate chip

What’s your favorite non-music related hobby or past time?
My favorite non-music related hobby or past time is spending time with friends exploring the world and discussing many interesting topics such as philosophy, science, and politics.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation?
One piece of advice I would give a friend who needs some inspiration or motivation is instead of taking on something that does not interest you, find something you are interested in and pursue it to the best of your ability.

What’s your current plan for what you want to do after graduating high school?
My current plan for what I want to do after graduating high school is to continue studying music and progressing to the best of my ability. I also want to continue to gain knowledge to be a well rounded individual.

Have you participated in MFA/BOA events before? Which ones?
I have not participated in MFA/BOA events before.

Tell us something interesting/unique about you:
I am a bilingual. I understand both English and Russian. My family is mostly from places such as Israel, Ukraine, and Russia.