ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
Fortunately for the Peabody-Burns High School band program, the first time Casey Berger tried to play the trumpet in fifth grade, all she heard was air.
So she picked up the drum sticks instead and has been playing percussion ever since.
“Casey is a great asset to the band,” said director Steven Glover. “She is an excellent percussionist, does anything that needs to be done and always has a wonderful smile and great attitude.”
Berger displays her percussion talents in marching band, concert band and pep band at PBHS.
“I really like playing the trap set,” Berger said. “I can’t read music very well, so I play all the drums and the tambourine.”
But the inability to read traditional music scores hasn’t stopped the young musician from being creative.
“Casey will also go the extra mile,” Glover said. “She has written several cadences for our percussion section for parades. She loves to play the trap set for pep band and does an awesome job.”
As a leader in the percussion section, Berger said she tries to balance serious work with having a good time.
“It’s nice to be serious when you have to be,” she said. “But with the freshmen, they’re just learning. So us older ones have to show them different rhythms. It’s nice to be easy with them-not so serious.”
Maybe that attitude helped the band work has a cohesive group at regionals in Haven this month, because the instrumentalists garnered a “I.”
Tucked away in an upstairs foyer of her house is a drum set that Casey uses to practice her skills.
“Lately, I haven’t played it much, but during the summer,I play it a lot-a couple of times a week,” Berger said.
Rhythm comes naturally to her, and that talent is evident in her favorite venue-pep band.
“In pep band, we just ad lib to the songs, and I really like that,” Berger said. “I don’t want to sound corny, but when the song is playing, I’m in my own little world.”
Berger also shows aptitude in the athletic arena at school.
She’s participated on winning basketball and cross country teams and is showing versatility in the track program.
“My best event is either the triple or long jump, because I’ve been doing it longer,” Berger said. “And I’ve just learned shot put and discus this year.”
She’s also an active member of the school Big Brothers Big Sisters program two days a week. On Wednesdays, she eats lunch with her little sister-Heather Brooks in the fourth grade.
“She’s like I was when I was her age-into sports,” Berger said.
Berger plans to attend Highland Community College in the fall and major in sports medicine.
“I’d like to either coach or be an athletic trainer,” she said.
Berger said band has taught her the value of practice.
“If you want to be good at something, you have to work for it,” she said. “And in band, if I want to do well on a song, then I have to go home with the song in my head and practice the beat to it.”