Brainerd High School senior Matt Smith played the trombone and the clarinet better than the other instruments he tried in sixth grade.
However, he ended up playing the tuba a year later.
Smith now is the tuba section leader in Symphonic Band at the high school and he has made his way to be named Fine Arts Student of the Week.
Smith has been in Symphonic Band since he was a sophomore. Symphonic Band mainly consists of juniors and seniors, but Smith made the cut as a sophomore, along with nine others classmates.
Art focus: Symphonic Band
Art activities: Symphonic Band and Jazz Band
Favorite subjects: Calculus and music theory
Most memorable fine arts achievement: Making the Minnesota All-State Band in 2002-03
Artist most admired: Wynton Marsalis
Favorite movie: "Braveheart"
Favorite TV program: "Fastlane"
Favorite song: "Rhapsody In Blue"
Parents: Richard and Marie Johnson of Baxter
"I did feel intimidated at first," said Smith when he joined the band. "But it wasn't that bad because there were a lot of people in my section that I played with at Mississippi Horizons (in band)."
Smith said one reason he enjoys playing the tuba is because it's the base of the band so the tuba section has more control or responsibility over the group.
Smith, who also is an officer in the band, enjoys playing in a large group because there is more versatility. However, he said it is more difficult to get things done because there are more people who need to focus. There are around 80 people in Symphonic Band.
Smith said Paul Melby, the director, does a good job leading the band and keeping it focused.
Smith is also involved in Jazz Band, where he plays the bass trombone, and he wants to join Dixie Band. He has done several solos and has received a superior rating at the solo and ensemble contest.
Currently he is working on "Carnival of Venus" for the solo and ensemble contest. He chose the song for the challenge. When he was a freshman he took band lessons from a senior, who played this song for a contest.
"I want to out-do him," he said.
Currently the Symphonic Band is rehearsing for its Dec. 10 Christmas concert. Songs that will be played include "Hymn Variants" and "Holidays For Winds."
Smith would like to attend Concordia College in Moorhead or North Dakota State University to major in music or engineering. He is also considering Arizona State University.
Mark Ahlberg, junior, Brainonian: Ahlberg's Brainonian adviser said, "Mark goes above and beyond for the Brainonian. When a section of the book was lost on our computer, he came in on his own time to re-do all of the work. Mark consistently produces quality work with a great attitude."
Justin Cervin, senior, Pottery I: Cervin's pottery teacher said Cervin is a hard worker and fast learner. Cervin is willing to try new approaches to pottery and his skills increase every day.
Amelia Cohoes, senior, Debate: Cohoes made the National Forensic League's Student Congress. She also placed third in the Lincoln-Douglas varsity debate in Grand Rapids and first place in the novice debate tournament.
Marilynn Munsch, senior, Fifth Street Journal: Munsch's Fifth Street Journal adviser said, "Marilynn is always willing to cover difficult stories, many which require last-minute reporting. She puts a lot of time and effort into Fifth Street Journal, even though she is involved in several other activities."
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