Horn player gets big honor

POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) — This is a big week for Poland Seminary High School band member Brendan Gage.

He will fulfill a dream years ahead of most students when he travels to Columbus on Wednesday for his first rehearsal with the All-State Orchestra.

“It was kind of like a shock because I really wasn’t expecting to make it this year,” Brendan said.

On Friday, the group of about 200 high school students will perform for the Ohio Music Educators Association.

“It’s kind of nerve wracking because everyone is going to be so amazing down there,” Brendan said.

And if it was not going to be stressful enough to be there with the best musicians in the state of Ohio, in the audience will be a roomful of music teachers.

Nick Olesko is Brendan’s band director at Poland. He said Brendan is one of just 13 horn players selected statewide.

“It’s very competitive. It’s a lot of work to prepare the audition and send the tape in,” Olesko said.

Only a handful of Poland High School band members have ever made it to All-State. And as a sophomore, Brendan is the youngest ever to go.

“They definitely look up to him even though he’s a sophomore. You would never know. To watch him interact with other kids and to lead the band, you would never know that he is as young as he is,” Olesko said.

His youth does not mean he is without experience. He started playing the piano in first grade, and the horn in fifth grade.

“It’s always been a major aspect of  my life. Without music, I would not have a whole lot to do. I spend my free time making music,” Brendan said.

He said he plans to always keep playing and hopes to make it back to All-State next year.

Brendan’s father is Dr. Stephen Gage, the director of bands at Youngstown State University.

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