ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
Anyone who has played a wind instrument knows how challenging it would be to play wearing braces.
Heidi Zogelman, senior at Marion High School, has worn braces since her sophomore year and still receives “I”s performing on the french horn at state competitions.
“The oboe and the french horn are considered very difficult instruments,” Zogelman said. “I’ve had to adapt, so that will help a lot to get my braces off.”
Born in Newton, she has attended school in USD 408 Marion/Florence and lives in Florence.
Her family includes her mom, who is the head of human resources at St. Luke Hospital in Marion; her dad, who is the service manager at Williams Service Inc. in Florence; and her sister, a sophomore at MHS.
The family circle also includes three dogs, two belonging to her.
“I love my dogs,” Zogelman said. “I have a chocolate lab I’ve had since kindergarten, and I just got a puppy last Christmas. It’s a lab mix.”
Life outside of school has included time with her dad fishing and going quail and pheasant hunting, horseback riding, spending time with her friends and traveling.
“I went to London last summer with the National Honor Society,” Zogelman said. “That was a great experience. I loved it.”
The young instrumentalist is a member of the MHS band directed by Mike Connell.
“This is a fantastic group of musicians, and Heidi has been a giant,” Connell said. “She’s an outstanding student, a wonderful musician and a very good person. I’ve never heard anybody who has a sound like her.”
Zogelman has been in band since fifth grade. Shortly thereafter, she began taking private lessons from Donna Woolery, who has a master’s degree in the french horn and is the vocal instructor at Newton High School.
In addition to performing with the concert band and pep band, Zogelman was selected as the MHS drum major her senior year.
“I’m drum major for the pep band and marching band,” she said. “And Mr. Connell might have me direct a piece at the spring concert. Sometimes when he’s gone, I go over the songs and direct those.”
In addition to her choir activities, she has maintained a 4.0 grade-point average all four years in high school, is president of the National Honor Society, president of the student council, a member of the MHS Singers, a homecoming-queen candidate and class vice-president for two years.
“I play volleyball, and I’m a setter,” Zogelman said as she listed the athletics she enjoys. “I’m a point guard in basketball right now, and I’ll play third base in softball.”
Her band honors are no less luminary than her other school activities.
“My sophomore year, I made the Kansas Music Educators Association State Orchestra and was chosen for KMEA District Honor Band all four years,” she said.
She was also chosen for the Cottonwood Valley Honor Band four years in a row.
Zogelman has been a member of the Wichita Symphony Youth Orchestra, the Kansas Masonic Marching Band and played with the Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony.
In three years at state solo competitions, she received one “II” and two “I”s.
“Sometimes playing the french horn isn’t my favorite thing to do, but I enjoy it-like when I perform well,” Zogelman said. “But I get really, really nervous.”
As she tries to conquer her nerves, she will enter the regional’s solo competition this month.
“I’ll take a french-horn solo,” Zogelman said. “We might also take a french-horn trio, but we haven’t decided that for sure.”
For the past three years she’s played difficult pieces at the regional and state competitions.
“The one last year used different chords, and it was really hard to hear,” she said. “This year, I told (Woolery) I wanted a flowing, pretty one that I can enjoy. And I like it a lot.”
Playing the french horn requires good breath support, and it also helps to have a good ear for music, Zogelman said.
“Our french-horn section has a good ear. We have three people in our section, and that’s really unusual for a high school band our size.”
It should come as no surprise that the talented musician occupies the first chair in her section.
Asked what she contributes to the band, she said: “Leadership. I’m not loud spoken, but I try to show by example. And people know I’m involved with music, so they look to me for leadership.”
With a team-player’s mentality, she talked about why her band has received “I”s ever since she’s been in high school.
“We are a superior band compared to a lot of bands our size,” Zogelman said. “Mr. Connell reminds us we’re known in other schools for being good.”
She is still undecided about college-Washburn University is currently at the top of her list.
At this point, she’s considering majoring in pre-med to eventually become an osteopath or a pediatrician.
“But I want to also do something with my french horn since it’s a talent of mine, and I enjoy it,” Zogelman said. “So I might major in music and also get my courses required for premed. Or I could have a double major so one can be in music.”
Beyond college, some lucky student some day might be taking private lessons from her, or a community orchestra may be blessed with a talented french-horn player.
“I like it when I perform well,” Zogelman said. “And when I’m in a group, I really, really like it.”