Sophomore plays to impress

Park saxophonist uses band as opportunity to showcase talent

Ethan Brown

Sophomore Ethan Rickert unpacks his saxophone, pulls out his folder of music and places it on his stand, ever mindful of where his instrument has taken him.

Rickert, who plays saxophone in Park’s wind ensemble, said he chose to join band in fifth grade and enjoys every opportunity to play.

“My dad was in band and also played saxophone, so I chose to join as well,” Rickert said. “Then in seventh grade, I was introduced to jazz music. I knew instantly I loved playing that type of music.”

Rickert said he not only continues to participate in band because of his love for saxophone, but also because he has wonderful teachers.

“I love the teachers that teach band,” Rickert said. “I loved having Mr. Moore at the Middle School and I love having Mr. Schmitz. They really keep me involved.”

High school band teacher Steve Schmitz said he appreciates Rickert’s dedication to Park’s band program.

“Ethan is incredibly enthusiastic,” Schmitz said. “He just loves what he’s doing, he loves music and he works really hard.”

Rickert said he used band as a place to display his musical passion when he first moved to Park from St. Louis.

“I always needed something to strive to be ‘the best’ at when I first moved here,” Rickert said. “When I moved here, I knew no one and I was put in the lowest classes because I’d never taken any standardized testing.”

Rickert said his proudest achievement in band has been his ability to move up within the program quickly.

“At the beginning of the year I was in symphonic band,” Rickert said. “But at the semester break I sort of made history, because this has never happened while Mr. Schmitz was here. I moved up to wind ensemble.”

Schmitz said he thinks Rickert’s musical ability grew considerably throughout the past year of his participation in band.

“He’s a lot more confident musically,” Schmitz said. “Some of his basic skills are just worlds better than a year ago.”

Rickert said he struggled with the learning curve of wind ensemble at first, but now feels proud of himself for sticking with it.

“It was hard at first because I hadn’t learned two of their songs,” Rickert said. “Now that I’m learning with them, I’m right on pace.”