Perry’s best: concert bands

Brandon Hermreck

Eleven years ago, a young Brandon Hermreck began his musical career after getting his hands on his father’s guitar. He was the first of his family to take interest in the field, so much so that he picked up the alto saxophone in fifth grade, then bass guitar, followed by tenor saxophone, bari saxophone, and flute.

He held first chair and saxophone section leader for most of his high school career. This year, Hermreck’s day consisted of music-related classes including symphonic band, jazz band, marching band, and AP music theory. He solos frequently in those ensembles and also marched in the U.S. All-American Marching Band as the second alto saxophone in the country.

Hermreck began playing gigs on the side with his non-profit jazz ensemble, “Young Sounds,” having appeared at the Phoenix Art Museum, the Salvation Army Center, and the Phoenix Center for the Performing Arts. The group plays professional pieces, some above the college level.

Recently, in a 30-minute audition at Northern Arizona University, Hermreck was awarded a full tuition scholarship and will major in saxophone performance, a prestige specialization. As of now, only he and a few others will major in this at NAU as the director rarely gives anyone the opportunity to do so.

Marianne Cayer

Marianne Cayer picked up the clarinet in fifth grade, setting her up for success in high school. When auditioning into high school symphonic band during eighth grade, she made first chair her freshman year, exceeding those who were already in the class.

That year, she auditioned to be woodwind captain in marching band and made it for her sophomore season; she held that position along with clarinet section leader for the rest of her three years.

She was awarded Rookie of the Year in 2014 as a freshman “which was cool because we have a legacy of clarinets who get it,” and in the summer after, Cayer participated in the International Music Academy.

She also had been in chamber ensembles consisting of grad students. “It was weird because I was the youngest by like 10 years, but it was fun and I wasn’t last [chair],” Cayer said.

On top of all of that, Cayer made it into regionals and all-state band all four years, where some of the most prestigious students in the state come together to perform.

“That was exciting because it kind of got me introduced to the whole music community as a state instead of just as the school,” Cayer said.

She also made the U.S. All-American Marching Band and now looks to the future in music where she will minor in clarinet performance and continue playing in ensembles.