ASHLEY BEBENSEE, Screenwriter
ELM CREEK — Chloe Harms chose her future career path in music education on a whim.
Harms has played the euphonium in band since she was in fifth grade, but it wasn’t until eighth grade that her passion for music began to flourish.
“One day I took my instrument home to practice – I had never practiced before eighth grade – and I really enjoyed it,” Harms said with a laugh.
She continued to ask her teacher for more solo books and pieces to play at home. In her freshman year, she realized she had a talent for music. Alex Rudolph, a new band teacher at Elm Creek Pubic Schools, saw her talent and encouraged her to continue pursuing her beyond high school.
“He immediately helped me with All-State, my audition, and then that soon became a weekly class at the school. When he left last year, our classes continued,” said the Elm Creek senior.
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Her love of music has continued to grow and she has learned to play other instruments including trombone, piano and ukulele. She also sings in the school choir.
“I love it,” Harms said of music.
Under Rudolph’s tutelage, Harms began seriously considering a career in music education.
“He says, ‘Here’s all the cool parts of teaching.’ I was like, ‘Oh, maybe I really want to do this,'” Harms said.
Before Harms begins her undergraduate education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, she will spend a busy summer performing in national honor bands across the country. Since she was a freshman, she has competed in conference and district band competitions, as well as local honor bands. In Spring 2020, she applied for the National Association for Music Education All-National Honor Ensembles Concert Band. But then the pandemic struck.
Chloe Harms has been playing instruments in bands since fifth grade and she will be traveling across the country this summer playing in honors bands and competitions.
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“Then the quarantine came and I was stuck in my house, away from my music teacher, fighting. I didn’t make it this year. But this year I did it,” she said.
Harms attended the virtual event earlier this year. She will compete in the Lincoln Municipal Band’s 29th Annual John Shildneck Competition in May. In June she travels to Washington, DC for the National Youth Wind Ensemble. Harms will participate in daily rehearsals with guest conductors and coaching sessions with professional musicians from the DC area. She also has the opportunity to tour national monuments and see performances by military bands at the Capitol. Harms loves dinosaurs and looks forward to visiting the Smithsonian.
Also in June, Harms will attend the John Philip Sousa National High School Band of Honor in Harvard, Mass.
With encouragement from Rudolph, Harms has taken classes at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. The more time she spent at UNK, the more she knew she wanted to continue her education there.
“Every time I walked in the door, people greeted me. The music people all know me now. It’s such a tight-knit community. I love that,” Harms said.
Harms plans to join the band and choir at UNK and she’s looking forward to being away from the music department.
“I love getting to know all the people. I’m not usually much of a social person, but when you get into the music world there is such a wide variety of people. It’s not just like the nerds or the jocks. It’s about everyone and I never know what’s going to come out of it,” she said.
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