Student Spotlight: Trygve Lebakken


• Julia Stoleson, Staff Writer, Neshonoc Editor in Chief

In the summer of fifth grade, Trygve Lebakken claims he barely knew how to hold drumsticks. Flash forward to his senior year. He’s the first chair percussionist in Wind Symphony and is involved in a variety of musical groups and organizations. His dedication and passion for music is evident, but where did it all begin?

Lebakken’s musical talents began when he first picked up a violin at the age two. Both of his parents were involved in music and helped him start what would become an incredible talent for years to come. When he was in second grade, he started taking piano lessons. “I played it for nine months, and then I stopped and switched to guitar because I was like, ‘I want to be a rock star!’” said Lebakken.

Lebakken’s talents in percussion have grown significantly since early middle school. “He is a very hard worker,” said band director, Dave Kies. “He is in the band room 1-2 periods a day outside of rehearsal practicing a multitude of percussion instruments.” In his sophomore year, Lebakken won the “Exemplary Soloist” award at Solo & Ensemble for playing a professional grade musical piece. He is also the first student in West Salem’s music program’s history to attend the WSMA State Honors Band for four years in a row. Hours of practice went into the preparation for his audition for WSMA, and that perseverance earned him his admission. The audition process included a solo, two etudes (short musical pieces), scales, and sight reading. Lebakken was selected to attend this honorary band of 100-119 talented musicians from all over the state. Lebakken has taken away a lot from his four years at WSMA. This elite group of musicians perform two concerts, one in the summer, and one in October. They spend four days in the summer rehearsing and provide a concert at the end of their camp. For these musicians, it’s more than playing simple notes, it’s the musicality that brings the piece to life. “Music is so much harder than you actually think it is…” said Lebakken. “Anyone can play notes on a page, but it’s about the dynamics and the whole emotion you put into it…You go there and you’re like, wow, there’s this whole other dimension of playing my instrument that I’ve never noticed for three or four years .”

Not only is Lebakken involved in this honorary music program, he is also juggling a variety of musical groups and competitions such as: two jazz bands, show band, the La Crosse Youth Symphony Orchestra, Solo & Ensemble, and more. For Solo & Ensemble, Lebakken is playing in nine events.

He also composed his own musical piece, “Sketches”, that the La Crosse Youth Symphony Orchestra played during their concert on March 10th. “If you don’t play music, listen to music… You don’t even have to know what’s happening. You can just watch people and be amazed by that. You don’t have to know anything about music to be involved in music, really,” said Lebakken. “People who are in music do what they love and they are very passionate about what they do.”