Sarah Gress, a leader and friend

Sarah Gress poses for her senior portrait. The medals on her uniform mark every time Gress made it into All-County, All-District and other ensembles. (Photo used by permission of Robert Clark)

The symphonic band has many talented and interesting people — Sarah Gress is one of these people. Gress entered the symphonic band playing clarinet; since freshman year, she has grown to be a great leader within the band. 

Gress has an important job within the band — she is this year’s student conductor and librarian. As student conductor, she is in charge of conducting the band while Ms. Montgomery is gone. Her librarian duties involve organizing music and ensuring that students are organized as well. 

Although the clarinet may seem like an easy instrument, it takes many years to develop the proper mouth muscles and muscle memory. Gress started in 5th grade with hopes to switch to the saxophone later on. “I stuck with it because I like the sound and it’s really fun,” wrote Gress over text. 

Gress recommends that new band students practice a lot and to make as many friends as possible. She wrote that “Playing well and having good friendships are what make band great.” Band friendships can last forever– there is always something to bond over as pieces of music take a lot of teamwork to perfect. 

Every section in the symphonic band has sectionals once a week; each section focuses their attention to the pieces and the balance of the section as a whole. The full band rehearsal is for each section to listen to other sections.During the clarinet sectionals, Gress takes the lead. There is a personable feeling to Gress’ responsibility– most leaders may be too demanding, but Gress focuses more on details than perfection. Gress doesn’t make many mistakes– she’s articulate and careful not to upset anyone around her. 

With anything comes hardships, and Gress experienced her own setback in her sophomore year. She had two gum surgeries– “I wasn’t able to play for about a month. The recovery was pretty slow, which was super frustrating.” 

Samantha Waller, senior, has been friends with Gress since 6th grade. “She just, like, really fun to be around. She’s really smart and… she’s just a generally good person,” said Waller. “I hope we keep in contact, even though we might be at different colleges, hopefully we can come back together.” Gress’ impression on everyone she meets is reassuring; her friends hope to keep in contact with her through their own lives. 

College is an even greater opportunity for Gress to improve her skills. She wants to take on marching band and small ensembles — which is a continuation of what she built in her high school career. College marching bands are more free to do things they want to and Gress can express her leadership even more. Small ensembles are especially good experience for leadership opportunities as there aren’t as many people in that ensemble. 

Gress has worked hard to achieve what she has: Constant years of practice and studying have given her a great education and band opportunity. She has surrounded herself with friends that support her and make her happy.  Gress’ band career has benefited her greatly and has given her friends who will last forever. 


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