• Last modified 673 days ago (Sept. 8, 2022)


Persistence strikes up a band gig for teen

Staff writer

Brett McGee remembers watching Alex Young count the number of trombone players — six — at last year’s national Future Farmers of America convention in Indianapolis.

“What do I have to do to be one of the six?” Young wondered.

Before McGee knew it, Young researched how to apply to be in the state FFA band and then how to get a spot in the national band.

The Peabody-Burns senior recently found out he had made the national band. In October, he’ll join other musicians — many of whom are Kansans — in Indianapolis for the 95th national convention.

“I auditioned back in July,” Young said.

He’s been in bands since the fifth grade. He’s at least the second Peabody-Burns student to make the national FFA band. YouTube standout Derek Klingenberg, who gained fame for playing trombone for audiences of cattle, also played in the band.

Young is in his second year as secretary of Peabody-Burns FFA chapter and his third year as a member. He’s “super excited” to be in the national band.

He also is principal chair in the Wichita Symphony Youth Orchestra and plays in the Wichita Symphony Wind Ensemble.

Young had a ready-made path to being a trombone player.

“Actually, I think we had one sitting at home,” he said.

French horn also piqued his interest.

He is an active student, also participating in choir, student government, National Honor Society, forensics, Scholars Bowl, theater, and a youth drug prevention program. In addition, he helps out filming sports at school. Outside of school, he’s involved in 4-H and plays at his church.

“Alex works exceptionally hard at everything he does, and band is no exception,” said Laura Leitnaker, vocal and band teacher.

He practices as often as he can.

“I’d like to do it at least an hour or two every day, but sometimes, life gets in the way,” he said.

That life includes a herd of goats, which he keeps for FFA and 4-H.

McGee called Young a great student and a great FFA member.

“What a way to round out his senior year,” McGee said.

Last modified Sept. 8, 2022