Standout Student Sam Theisen leads by example
Sam Theisen is something of a renaissance man. He takes advanced placement classes, is an athlete, singer and plays in the band too.
The Symphonic Band at Armstrong High School is working on learning music from the musical “Chicago.” Band Director Todd Burkholder says the jazz pieces are often difficult for students who aren’t in the jazz band, but some students enjoy jazz most of all.
Seventeen year old senior Sam Theisen is one of those students who likes to play jazz.
“It’s the different rhythms,” explains Theisen. “It’s being able to improvise and do what you want in some parts.”
Theisen is first chair trombone, which isn’t a bad accomplishment considering he didn’t even try to play one until ninth grade.
“My dad used to play trombone back at Robbinsdale High School,” says Theisen. “I pulled it out and started messing with it and thought maybe it was something I wanted to move forward with.”
Theisen hasn’t looked back. He excels as a band member and also as a leader. Theisen is one of the drum majors in the marching band.
“He has a great rapport with students and leads by example,” says Burkholder. “Sam also has the forethought to say ‘is this something you are thinking for rehearsal?’ He is thinking ahead and already thinking like a director and beyond that of a student.”
Theisen is already thinking ahead to college, where he plans to major in business and minor in music. He wants to keep playing, possibly because he’s enjoying being in the band so much.
“Being able to come here and make music with people you’ve been friends with for four, five or six years is really fun,” says Theisen. “It’s amazing what we can do together and accomplish.”
Theisen is also an athlete. He runs cross country, is on the Nordic ski team and does track and field in the spring. He has aspirations of running cross country in college.