Archive for Wednesday, March 16, 2005

McLouth High School senior plans to play his way into a career of music

March 16, 2005

Michael Annis, a McLouth High School senior, plans to make a career out of music.

Annis, the son of Christy and Gary Tullis, McLouth, and Michael and Annie Annis, Lawrence, has played the trombone since he was in the fifth grade.

"I wanted to play the drums, but my teacher says no, you need to play this," Annis said of his start on the trombone.

Apparently, his music teacher had a sound idea.

For the past two years, Michael has received a 1 or 1-plus rating at the state music festival for his trombone solos. And this year, he qualified for state, which will be held later this semester.

In addition, Michael received an invitation to participate in the Topeka Youth Symphony, which is composed of area high school musicians and directed by Steven Elisha.

Michael was surprised by the invite.

"They called my house," Michael said. "I'm not sure how they found my name, there's nobody around there that does it because it's so far away."

But Michael, and his parents, decided distance would be no challenge, and managed to get him to the Tuesday practices in Topeka.

"It's challenging stuff," Michael said.

"Everything in it's in tenor clef instead of bass clef, so it's like learning a new instrument."

It's also thrilling, Michael said.

"It really caught me off guard," Michael said. "I'd never been around stringed instruments, that was really amazing, it was an eye-opener, it really made me want to further my education."

And it was fun.

"You just feel the crescendos and the decrescendos more than just in regular band in high school -- it was really a more professional type feeling."

Michael plans to attend college at Emporia State University where he'll major in music performance.

"I just want to play (the trombone) all the time," Michael said. "I'm actually thinking about going into the military after college and playing in the (military) band. You get really good there because all you do is play music, every day you just play music."

And, in college, Michael is considering the possibility of minoring in criminal justice.

"If I don't become a good trombone player in college, I want to be a police officer," Michael said. "... But I haven't really thought about it much, because I'm pretty sure I've found my niche."

Though he's learned a lot about music through school classes, Michael also takes trombone lessons at the Toon Shop in Leavenworth.

Michael said though trombone is the interest that seems to be propelling him into his future, like other teens, he has other interests.

He works part-time at B&J Country Mart in Tonganoxie. He's refurbishing a 1967 Camaro, and he participates in sports.

But when it comes to a career, he's thankful he's found his niche -- even if it takes a little fine-tuning now and then.

A challenge inherent in playing the trombone, Michael said, is that the musician has to be able to play in tune.

He attributes his success to the fact that he has a "good ear."

"It (the trombone) will always be just a little bit sharp or a little bit flat," Michael said. "You have to know what to set your horn at -- that's the hardest thing."

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