Fine Arts Student of the Week: Band honors senior for his leadership and work ethic

Advisers in the fine arts programs at Brainerd High School name a Fine Arts Student of the Week every week. This week it is for band.

Bobby Erickson
Brainerd High School senior Bobby Erickson plays the baritone saxophone in Jazz Ensemble I. Erickson was named this week's Fine Arts Student of the Week for his work in Jazz Ensemble I and Wind Symphony. Jennifer Kraus / Brainerd Dispatch

Bobby Erickson

Grade: Senior.

Age: 17.

Art focus: Brainerd High School Wind Symphony and Jazz Ensemble I.

Adviser nomination: “Bobby is leader in the band program, both as a person and as a musician. He is the baritone saxophone player in the BHS Wind Symphony and Jazz Ensemble I. He is a very skilled player who inspires others with his great attitude, work ethic and his kind and supportive nature.”


Memorable fine arts achievement: Winning Best in Site in a saxophone quartet during my sophomore year. We did Saxophone Sinfonia.

Why did you decide to play the saxophone? Not many people know this, but when I was in fifth grade, I was in Wisconsin at the time and the band director was going through all the instruments you could pick and he came up the saxophone. He flat out said the saxophone is the easiest instrument to pick, so I picked that one. And then I found out it’s not that easy to play it, but I fell in love with the instrument. I plan to play it hopefully for the rest of my life.

I love the tone and what you can do with the instrument. You can be in a concert band or in a jazz band. With other instruments, you can’t be in both of them. I like the variety of them because you can have saxophone ensembles with all the different types of saxophones there are.

What is hard about the saxophone? Setting it up. It has a lot of parts to put together and a lot of things to be aware of. When I started playing the bari sax it was almost taller than me, so that was a fun time. I’d be on the floor when I was playing it and I had to push the case across the hallway because I was too small to pick it up.

I started with the alto saxophone in sixth grade and then switched to bari in seventh grade. The baritone is twice as big physically and it’s an octave lower than the alto. I switched to bari to be in jazz band. They needed a bari to have a complete section and I was picked. I like the way it sounds and not a lot of people play it.

How do you lead the band? I along with the band officers pick out dates to have parties and special events and get things together for a concert. I also help people, especially in saxophones, if they have questions on note names or how to play a note. I also motivate them a lot, especially at pep fest as some are really shy to play loud in front of people. I tell them to not worry what others think and to play as loud as you can and to have fun.

Tell me about your work ethic: When I have to get something done I don’t stop until it is done. My audition to get into Wind Symphony my sophomore year, I practiced two hours for four weeks straight and I got in. As soon as I get home, I sit down at my desk and I grind through all of my homework until it gets done, so I can have the rest of the night to relax.

Proudest piece: “Festive Overture.” We performed this in Wind Symphony my junior year. I say this piece because of its complexity and all the different key changes and time changes the song had and lining everything up to get it done — it was a hard thing to do.


After high school plans: I plan to go to a college and to continue on in band for as long as I can and continue to play it after college and get a good job. (Playing the sax) is not something I want to do as a career, but I’d like to play it at gigs or church or other things like that.

Anything else to say about band? If you have kids who are going into sixth grade, highly encourage them to be in band. I’ve met most of my closest friends from being in band.

Last movie you saw in a theater: “Midway.”

Favorite TV show: “Hawaii Five-O.”

Favorite book: “Warriors,” a series by Erin Hunter.

Favorite song: “Test Drive.”

Worse genre: Country and heavy metal.

Favorite restaurant: Beef-A-Roo in Illinois. I love their cheese fries.


Worse subject: English.

Perfect meal: My grandma’s lasagna.

Biggest pet peeve: People not getting their work done.

Sports/clubs: Track and field.

Cub Fan? I’m an all-Chicago fan. I’m from Chicago. I lived there for 2 1/2 years and I have a lot of family there. (Some fun memories are) going to Wrigley Field and seeing some of the players walk right by us.

Hobbies: Rock climbing.

Parents: Jennifer and Brian Erickson of Brainerd.


JENNIFER KRAUS may be reached at or 218-855-5851. Follow me at on Twitter.

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