ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA MARTENS
He still has a picture taken when he was 3 years old-wearing pajamas and happily banging away on the bottom of a trash can.
Ben Goering is now a senior at Goessel High School and has continued playing drums since those early years.
“I’ve always been interested in drums since I was little-playing bongos that my dad had and the drums,” Goering said. “Then, when I could be in band in fifth grade, I had my mind made up a couple of years before that I wanted to be a drummer.
“I developed rhythm when I was younger, just because my parents are into music,” Goering said.
“Music is a pretty big priority in my family-my brother and my parents. My dad plays the guitar, and my mom plays the piano. They both have a great sense of rhythm and love many different types of music.”
Goering said taking private percussion lessons since about the sixth grade has allowed him to build on the solid instruction he has received from GHS band instructor Bud Meisel.
“Ben has been a pleasure to have in our bands,” Meisel said. “He is a very talented percussionist. I really hate to see him graduate this year, because he will be very difficult to replace.”
Goering said he pushes himself so he can learn faster. He also understands the value of taking private lessons.
“I can go outside and learn from a different person, so I can get different views and concepts,” he said.
Goering practices on his drum set at home from 15 minutes to an hour a day. He’s lacking a timpani section, so he’s learned to improvise.
“I set up pillows to represent different timpani drums,” he said with a soft chuckle. He’s also taken home the school’s bells so he can learn to perfect those.
“I’m just learning to play bells, so that motivates me to practice more,” Goering said. “And, it actually has notes more than just hitting on a drum.”
The percussion section at GHS includes Goering, fellow-senior John Wiens, one sophomore and two freshmen. The responsibility of leadership falls on the two seniors.
“I think it’s more of a communal thing with John and me because we’re both seniors, and we’re both fairly talented,” Goering said with obvious humility.
He recently earned a spot on the State Kansas Music Educators Association Band. He’s also received ‘I’ ratings every year he’s participated at regional and state contests with his snare-drum solos.
A ‘I’ at regionals this year means he will go on to state competition.
“I catch on pretty quick, and it’s pretty easy to memorize once I have to start memorizing for state,” Goering said. “It’s not real difficult, but it helps to take private lessons.”
Being in band includes pep band and concert band. Goering, an accomplished percussionist, plays the drum set, a variety of hand drums, timpani, mallets and bells.
“I’m definitely looking to improve on the bells and timpani,” Goering said. “I’d like to improve on it all, but those specifically.”
His grade-point-average is about a 3.5, and he’s a pole vaulter in track, a photographer and involved in choir and the school musicals.
College choices have been narrowed down to Hutchinson Community College or the University of Kansas.
“I’d probably end up going to Hutch for free with scholarships available there,” Goering said.
“But at KU, I have a friend who lives in Lawrence and (will be ) going to KU. We’ve always wanted to be roommates and maybe put a band together. He plays the guitar.”
Declaring a music major initially, Goering said he may change that to a minor area of study and consider other career fields, such as business, engineering or sociology/psychology.
As he prepares to graduate soon, Goering said his band experiences have made him a better person.
“I think it’s improved my communication skills like any class would but in a different way, because you’re doing it musically in band and choir,” Goering said. “It’s a good experience.”