ST. MARYS — “Stand out in life, but blend together in music” — this mantra was written on a poster that hung on the walls in the band room at Memorial High School ever since senior Evan Bader, 17, was a freshman.
Bader has been blending since fifth grade, when he decided to join band. Watching football games when he was younger and seeing the band out on the field pushed Bader to be a part of that group, which a lot of his friends were doing, too.
Both his sisters are musically inclined, Bader said. One was in choir at Memorial High School and the other plays guitar. Bader chose trombone, and has been sticking with it ever since. Though music runs in his family, he was starting from scratch with the trombone.
“(It was difficult) just learning how to play notes and going from knowing nothing about music to going head on into (it),” Bader said. “But with practice and with teachers it got easier.”
Last year, Bader was chosen as the second best trombone player, or second chair, for symphonic band.
“It shocked me and surprised me,” Bader said. “I practiced really hard to get better, that way I could be in symphonic.”
His freshman and sophomore years, Bader was in concert band. Being picked to be in symphonic band meant Bader was able to participate in the district and state competitions with the rest of the band.
“If you get a one at district, you can go on to state, which we did last year,” Bader said.
Bader said it was something that needed to happen for Dane Newlove’s last year, and they realized that this would be their last chance to go with him.
“It was hard on all of us,” Bader said. “He was emotional, but it’s expected.”
Bader loves his “band family.” Having the same instructors from fifth grade until last year made everyone very close.
“We called Mr. Newlove ‘Poppa’ because he was kind of always there,” Bader said. “Band is just kind of like your second family.”
Bader said he hopes to make it back to state, and just to make his senior year the best it can be. Bader wants to study athletic training and physical therapy.
Regardless, music is a deciding factor in his choice of colleges.
“Music is a big thing I’m looking for in college,” Bader said.
“If they don’t have a music program, then it gets stuck down toward the bottom of my list.”