By Nadine Buckley
For somebody to say that they are simply in band just doesn’t cover it. Band is very general term with many meanings that could encompass concert band, marching band, pep band, or more. Bryce Enscoe, a Shenango junior, is a part of Jazz Band, and he has achieved one of the highest honors any jazz kid can hope for, which is to officially be a part of District 5 Jazz Band.
For those not in the music know, Districts is an event where all of the participating schools in the area get together and try out for a type of elite band that consists of the best musicians from each of the area schools. There are different districts events for the different band categories. Bryce competed against other students from Beaver, Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties at the District 5 Jazz Festival. He auditioned by preparing a jazz etude on his saxophone and improvising a solo for a panel of three judges. From all of the auditions, judges put together three honors jazz ensembles that perform on February 3rd. Only 15 saxophone players from all four counties were selected to perform in one of the three bands.
Bryce was more surprised than anybody. When asked about how his own performance went, Bryce said truthfully, “Well…I was extremely nervous. I know I didn’t give it my best, and I could have done better, but I still somehow managed to be good enough to get in.”
Bryce has been interested in playing music ever since elementary school when a speaker came into his fourth grade and taught the class about music. Bryce started out with saxophone, switched to piano, and now plays both.
When asked about who his own musical inspirations were, Bryce answered without missing a beat. “Doug Butchy,” (their band director). He then dropped the name of Leo P, a barry saxophone player in New York. “He does all these things while playing his instrument like jumping around. It’s just fun, up-beat music and he makes it look like a lot of fun so that I enjoy it.” Bryce also finds himself inspired by the music of orchestras. He feels that when he listens to them, he feels motivated to grow and succeed in his own music career and wishes to someday sound as good, if not better, than his idols. His own personal favorite group is the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and he absolutely loves hearing them perform at the Scottish Rite Cathedral.
Bryce feels that he has really grown as a musician through his years of playing, from not being able to play a single note to now being able to play more complex pieces. Of course, this amount of talent doesn’t just happen; it takes practice. Lots of it. “I just run through the music,” says Bryce, “and if there’s a harder section, I’ll go over it slowly, one note at a time, then slowly build up my speed until I know for sure that I have it properly.”
His willingness to practice and his devotion to the music he plays was enough to get Bryce into the top of District 5 Jazz Band, but is there anything else he would still like to achieve? He said that he looks forward to just becoming better and being able to play difficult pieces at higher levels. While Bryce currently has no plans on making music his career, he’d still like to continue playing his instruments just for the sheer joy of it.
On a final note, Bryce noted that “If I can go and play this music and bring happiness and entertain myself and hopefully others, it’s something I’d like to continue doing, even if I don’t go into it for a job.”