Playing as a libero in volleyball and running in cross country are just a couple of things on Ryder Watanabe’s full plate at Hawaii Baptist Academy.

He is also one of just 12 freshmen in the high school Wind Ensemble (which has 78 members) and has been playing the trumpet since seventh grade. Watanabe joined band because he enjoys playing and listening to music. He said, “My favorite part of band is that all the instruments have different parts. You can hear which instrument is playing what but just hearing it as a whole sounds better that by itself.”

Summing up his first semester so far, Ryder said, “My highlight this year has been getting to play for the sixth graders when they came to our campus. When they heard us play, they all got excited and enjoyed it a lot. As they had to go to their next activity, they were all sad, saying that they want to stay to hear more and that made me feel good because I want to play music so people can feel that urge to want to hear it more.”

Looking ahead to the next three years of high school, Watanabe has several goals in mind. One is to become a better trumpet player so that he can move up in chairs—chair 1 is the best chair, chair 2 is the next best, and so on. “I also want to do good in our winter concert because if we perform well, we might get a chance to play at Carnegie Hall in New York. I also want to do well in our spring concert because we are going to be competing in the Parade of Bands,” said Watanabe. The Parade of Bands is organized by the Oahu Band Directors Association and is an annual band competition for schools on Oahu.

While band lessons may focus playing the right notes and staying with the beat, Watanabe said he’s learned a lot more than music from his time in the Wind Ensemble. “I have grown to become a better person and who is wiser about his decision making,” he said.

Photograph by Ryan Su (’17)