MSD’s Wind Orchestra welcomes freshman Gage Heller into their program


Celeste Haim

Freshman Gage Heller stands with his euphonium, an instrument he has been playing for four years. Heller is one of five freshman in the Wind Orchestra, the highest level of concert band at MSD.

Celeste Haim, Writer

While sitting in the band room, students are surrounded with music. Many songs can be heard from all around, such as marches, duets, solos and classics. The room is filled with joyous sounds until five loud claps from a drum major are heard from across the room. Suddenly everything is silent–class has begun.

Five talented freshman students are in the Wind Orchestra at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School: Levi Forman who plays flute, Alexander Lorenzano who plays tuba, Gage Heller who plays euphonium, Yo Yo Li who plays trombone and Joshua Brown who plays clarinet–all of whom ended up in the Wind Orchestra, the highest level of band at MSD. While sitting in fourth period, they see mostly upperclassmen.

Heller is a freshman that plays the euphonium under Band Director Steven Rivero. He has been playing euphonium for four years, starting when he was in the sixth grade. Heller has been taking lessons with Emily Nicholes, his private teacher who helps him improve upon his musical talent.

Heller has rehearsals for the Eagle Regiment from Tuesday to Friday every week where he plays the contra, competes every Saturday between Oct. 1 and Nov. 9 and practices for Wind Orchestra. Additionally, Heller rehearses with the Florida Youth Orchestra on Mondays. With all of his extracurriculars, he continues to make friends and finds ways to socialize with people around him.

“In the time I have known [Gage], he has been very enthusiastic about the things he has passion for, like his instruments. He is very motivational to others, and his peers. He is really good at what he does. He puts in a lot of time and effort, and it pays off,” freshman Jack Shaw said.

Shaw is a friend of Heller and is also in band; he is in the Symphonic Band, which is one level below Wind Orchestra, and the Eagle Regiment. They were in the band program together at Coral Springs Middle School all three years.

Heller also plays other instruments besides euphonium, like trombone, piano, tuba, marching contra and marching baritone. He loves music and the way it makes people feel, especially when it changes their perspectives and allows them to explore the musical world.

“Music sounds really cool. Making nice sounds, it feels good. When I hear people around me making similar music, it’s really inspiring,” Heller said.

Heller hopes to continue with the MSD band program for the remainder of his high school career and possibly pursue music in college. However, he currently does not believe he will do music in his future career.

As a freshman, Heller has achieved something most students his age often do not. To achieve placement in the Wind Orchestra, students must submit an audition. Based on their audition, they are placed into the according band. Heller has been working on his musical abilities for four years. Although he did not expect it, he made it into the Wind Orchestra, an accomplishment he hopes to maintain until graduation.