Life on Stage -- Never give up your passion
Musicians begin their journey to perform for many years. Their strong desire to achieve success speaks volumes about their commitment to music. Both family and teachers strive to create a nurturing atmosphere while challenging their children to develop their talents to the fullest.
Breanna Shawn Engelhardt will soon graduate from Kadena High School. Her father, Sgt. Andrew Ester, a noncommissioned officer, Operations and Training for the 10th Regional Support Group is very proud of her accomplishments. Engelhardt has spent the majority of her life learning music and was awarded a scholarship to attend Texas Tech University pursuing her dream to become a professional musician. “As we all already know, college is very costly, and even more so for students who wish to pursue performing arts as their major. On top of all the expected college expenses, music lessons must be paid for, as well as instruments and supplies. By obtaining this scholarship, much of the burden of paying for college will be taken off my parents. The vision of paying for my musical needs has become less strenuous,” said Engelhardt.
Achieving this level of success even in high school requires a commitment to maintain a balance between performing arts and academics. It also requires the assistance and support by the family, friends and the community.
“My family and friends have always been extremely supportive throughout my musical career. In the sixth grade when I began playing the flute, my mother and father always attended every concert and performance, grinning with pride as they saw me grow as a musician and adding new instruments to my repertoire. My friends helped me when I was skeptical about my talents--when I would make mistakes, or have doubts. They drove me to continue on as though the mistake had never occurred. Even though pursuing the arts as a profession is, as some would say, "risky" and "fruitless," I believe that my Lord has given me a gift that will get me to my goal of becoming a film musician and instructor. In addition, growing up with both parents in the military has taught me discipline, as well as respect for those above and with more knowledge than myself,” explained Engelhardt.
Each of us can remember a favorite teacher who had a significant impact on our lives. That person may have sparked a passion for reading or mathematics, or may have mentored us when no one else would. Often it was a teacher who influenced our own lives in a significant way. Students attending schools on military bases carry additional burdens. Deployments and living overseas places an emotional weight on them. Engelhardt highlighted the following educators that changed her life.
“I would especially like to thank all of the music teachers that I've had throughout the years:
Mr. Peterson (Liberty Hill Middle School, grade 6-8), who taught me how to play the flute and gave me an everlasting love for playing music and understanding the beauty of it.
Mr. Smith, Mr. Young, and Mr. Dolotina (Ellison High School, grade 9), who made me fall in love with marching and music despite how hard it was in the beginning.
Mr. McGlynn (Kadena High School, grade 9), who forced me out of my comfort zone and made me grow into a more technical musician who was able to play legit classical music--and the alto saxophone!
Mrs. Fleming (Kadena High School, grade 10-12), a teacher who goes above and beyond for her students, always wanting to instill a love of music in anyone she can, encouraging me through everything that I've battled over the past couple of years, and always there to teach and help not only in music, but in life as well.
All of these teachers have grown me and supported me in my musical endeavors in so many different ways. I thank God that he placed them into my life.”
Engelhardt also had a few recommendations for others pursuing a professional career in music.
“For those wishing to pursue music, never give up your passion. Though the road may be long, difficult and tedious, never lose sight of your ultimate goal. Practice every day for at least an hour--and more if you would like--and focus on scales! Always remember: do not let anyone tell you that you'll never make it, or that being a musician isn't worth it. If you have a passion and a gift, go for it with everything you have. Trust in God, and in yourself; He won't let you fail.”