Through the long extended journey of her experience in the marching band at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, senior Alexa Palen has performed in front of hundreds of people throughout her musical career.
Palen has been playing music for seven years, beginning in sixth grade. In middle school, her dream instrument was the trumpet, but she ended up playing the clarinet and is now attempting to learn how to play the guitar.
“At first my dream instrument was the trumpet, but I tried it out and it definitely didn’t work for me. Then I tried the clarinet and it just clicked,” Palen said.
Palen is a student in the Wind Symphony class, the highest level in a high school band program. She has been a part of this class since her sophomore year. Additionally, she is the co-section leader of the clarinets alongside senior Ryan Matulin.
Recently, Palen has been rehearsing with the Eagle Regiment marching band for their performances at the school football games. However, now that the football season is coming to an end, she hopes to be a part of the Indoor Winds season. When she is not playing with the entire band, Palen enjoys playing past show music in order to relive those memories.
Every year, Palen enjoys participating in the marching band. The feeling she gets when performing her last set after hours of hard work is what makes every moment worth it.
“You feel unstoppable like you’re on top of the world. Those uniforms, or as we like to call ‘super suits,’ that we wear make us invincible,” Palen said. “‘Together we’re invincible’ is one of our band mottos, and that phrase has gotten us through some tough times.”
Being a part of the band requires a lot of hard work and dedication, but Palen’s family constantly keeps her motivated. She is the only member of her entire family that is involved in music, but regardless of this, they support her endlessly. For instance, Palen traveled to Chicago for the Midwest Clinic in 2018, and her family was there every step of the way.
“My parents put so much effort into creating the props for our shows and helping us perform, they love the band just as much as I do,” Palen said. “My siblings attend my performances and cheer us on. My grandparents love music with their whole hearts, and I love being able to play for them.”
Band consumes much of Palen’s time but she still finds time to be involved in other activities. Palen is a member of the DECA Academy of Finance at MSD. She also loves being able to compete in DECA competitions and learning how to be financially successful.
Outside of school, Palen likes to go camping whenever the opportunity arises. She also loves art as anything to do with painting catches her attention.
“I plan on pursuing film after I graduate. Music tells a story within itself, and I want to make that story come to life on screen,” Palen said.
Palen will be graduating from MSD in just a few months. She does not plan on continuing her career in music, but she wants to keep music in her life during her journey with film.