Brenneman and jazz band to kick off season with performance at festival, convention

Last weekend’s performances of "Pippin" by the L-S High School musical ensemble exhibited a multitude of talented young musicians in the cast and pit orchestra. With the conclusion of the enjoyable -- and tiring -- preparations for the show, rehearsals for other music groups, such as the high school jazz band, are beginning to take rise.
Betsy Brenneman: jazz band pianist

One particular member of the jazz band, freshman pianist Betsy Brenneman, has found this year’s practices to be different from her former years as a trumpet player in the middle school jazz ensemble. It came as a bit of a shock to the jazz band director Mr. Larry Royer when Betsy stepped into her jazz band audition without her trumpet and ready to tickle the ivories.

"It is always exciting to discover new things about students," Royer says in an email. "I had no idea that Betsy played piano until she came in for her jazz band audition. I was fully expecting her to play trumpet until she sat down at the piano. She has many more opportunities to play and strengthen the entire music department with her talents."
Brenneman’s experience on the piano encompasses a time of over seven years of her life – she started playing the instrument in second grade. Taught by an instructor who trained her on classical music, Brenneman admits that the transition from even tempos and straightforward key signatures to the funky rhythms and complicated chords was a bit of a challenge. However, patience and persistence, she claims, pay off in the end.
"Once you get it," Brenneman imparts, "it’s really fun."
Outside of the swingy jazz band pieces, Betsy has begun to occupy her time outside of school with practicing themes from the Harry Potter films for her own pleasure at home. She reveals another multi-skilled Brenneman instrumentalist on the ascending through the ranks: her younger brother, who plays both the tuba and piano and also performs with the middle school jazz band.

For its part, the high school jazz band opens its 2016 performance season at the district-wide band festival on March 22. It will also perform at a convention of county school secretaries on March 30. 

Members of the ensemble are:

Saxophone: Laura Komara, Sean Burke, Ben Wenger, Ryan Fahnestock, Ben Eidemiller
Trombone: Jarrod Lloyd, Sam Ingram, Ben Pontz, Preston Brazzle
Trumpet: Megan Doolittle, Steve Greenwood, Jansen Miller, Josh Kirchner
Guitar: Justin Burkett
Bass: Hannah Hess, Josh Eidemiller
Percussion: Sam Welk, John Kurtz, Luca Ferretti, Becca Herr
Piano: Logan Emmert, Betsy Brenneman

--Jacky Kirchner, LSNews.org Features Editor

Edited: BP

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