Fran Herr- Leader and Musician

By Emelia Persell

The Edmonds Woodway band is a big part of the school’s culture and events. One can see the pep band at sporting events, and the concert band provides well-rehearsed music for assemblies and other performances. It is divided into three sections: Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Symphony. All three bands are full of dedicated, capable students. I spoke to the band president, Fran Herr, to see what band was really like.

Fran started playing the trumpet in fifth grade, and switched to french horn in middle school. She is now first chair in Wind Symphony on the horn. She said she enjoys band because “most art is just done by yourself, or with a couple other people but band is something where everybody in the room is contributing to this big piece of art, and it’s really cool because there’s nothing else like it and you’re all working together for the same goal.”

Fran was originally inspired to play French horn by her elementary school band teacher, Lance Ellis, but was later motivated by the Boston Brass Band, especially their horn player. “Sophomore year, we had the Boston Brass come to our school… I actually enjoyed it so much that I went and saw their concert on that Friday night, and I was completely blown away. The horn player in that group was so good, and his tone was just so beautiful, and all five of them just fit and played so well together…I feel like you don’t get to experience and be in the presence of great classical players very often, just out in the world, it’s not really publicised as much as other music.” The horn is now her primary instrument.

One must ask how such a dedicated band student manages their time. Fran is the swing club president, is taking five IB classes, and dances ten hours a week outside of school. When asked how she manages her time, she laughed, “Yeah, I do a lot.” Fran keeps a dedicated practice regimen, “ I normally try to practice first thing in the morning, or like the first thing when I get home from school, so sometimes I’ll wake up, at 5:15, get to school at 6:15, so that I can practice for an hour before school.” She reaps the benefits of this, Fran is first chair in Edmonds Woodway’s top band, Wind Symphony.

The biggest takeaway from the interview was a message- when was the last time you really listened to the band? Fran explained, “a lot of times people think that classical music in general is super boring…I think that’s just because they don’t listen, and I think that sort of recognizing that playing music is actually takes a lot of concentration and a lot of commitment…I think that a lot of people don’t recognize that music is, for musicians, as important as sports are for athletes.” Fran also encouraged Edmonds Woodway students to branch out and listen to some new music, suggesting Tchaikovsky or Prokofiev.  

Band isn’t as foreign as one might think. ¨[People think] that all we do is hole up in our little practice rooms and play music, but I don’t think that’s true… we’re just like normal people.”

Come out and support the band Tuesday December 12th at 7:30 pm for their winter concert.

Featured Photo by Brittany Brigham

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