It happens almost every year. Longtime percussion students, in the blink of an eye, grow up and graduate from high school. Usually, this means they finish up at my studio as well, and are off to college. This year, there are two.
I've taught Josh Richie for about eight years. Most of those years, Josh's lesson time was 7:30 a.m. on Saturdays. Yep. 7:30. In the morning. On Saturdays. For about eight years. This takes some serious commitment from any youngster!
Over those years, Josh has done such a great job becoming a well-rounded musician. In fact, on top of all the percussion instruments he needed to learn and practice while in the Menomonee Falls High School Band percussion section (snare drum, drum set, marimba, timpani, to name a few), he started playing trumpet as well in his sophomore year.
As a percussionist, in and out of school band, Josh has stayed busy. In his sophomore year, he performed a Class A drum set duet with his brother and received a "1" rating. During Josh's junior year, he wrote and recorded a solo album. On it he sang, played guitar and bass guitar, and programmed the drum machine. In his senior year, Josh performed each of the percussion instruments in the pit orchestra for the school musical, "Into the Woods."
When Josh started band in 6th grade, he struggled to memorize a few musical scales for testing. Now, in his senior year, he's been presented with the John Phillip Sousa Award. It's a nationally recognized achievement given to those displaying superior musicianship, dependability, loyalty and cooperation. Well done, Josh!
Josh Fox is my other Menomonee Falls High School graduate for 2011.
Josh started drum lessons with me in 5th grade, while he was attending a parochial school. But the Falls public school band program starts in 6th grade. So, when he transferred to the MFHS for 9th grade and wanted to join the band program, he needed to work hard to earn his spot among students who'd been playing together for three years.
Work hard he did! He auditioned and made the entry-level Concert Band his freshman year. While in concert band he achieved 2nd chair seating. Quite an achievement, as Josh had never played in a school band setting. His sophomore and junior years, he improved again, elevating himself to the school's Symphonic Band. While a junior, he composed an original drum-set piece for his band class' Solo and Ensemble competition, and received a "1" at State, the highest possible rating, for his performance of it. In his senior year, Josh took another leap forward when he auditioned for and made the highest band, the Wind Symphony. Josh did in four years what takes many band students six years to accomplish!
Since his sophomore year, Josh has been drumming in his own band, Cain & Abel. The band has played countless shows locally and in the Midwest, including a benefit for AIDS victims at MFHS, Cornerstone in Illinois, and was voted for via Internet polling and finalist judging, to play in the 2010 Milwaukee Warped Tour. In addition, Cain & Abel have released an EP and recently, their first full length album, "Successor," which has garnered some pretty positive reviews.
So, we have "A Tale of Two Joshes." Both are well-rounded, excellent musicians. Both have amassed quite a resume for high schoolers. Both have bright futures musically.
Although I'll miss seeing both of them on a weekly basis, I'm looking forward to witnessing their future accomplishments. Gentlemen, I'm proud of you both, and you'll be in my continued prayers!