A local high school musician is taking his talent to a national stage this fall. Time Warner Cable News Reporter Tara Grimes introduces us to a Pittsford sophomore whose trumpet skills will be seen by an estimated 53 million people.
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- When Allendale Columbia School sophomore John Phillips was just beginning fourth grade he said he wanted to play drums. Now, more than five years later, the 15-year-old can still pinpoint the exact moment he changed his mind and settled on the trumpet.
“We had a night where you could go and see all the instruments,” Phillips said. I just remember passing a room and there was a guy riffing on a trumpet. It sounded so cool and I was like, ‘I want to be just like him.’”
It seems that choice continues to fit him well. After submitting an audition tape his freshman year, Phillips learned he was selected to become the first Monroe County student ever to perform in the Macy’s Great American High School Marching Band during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. A feat he said is difficult to accomplish, especially since only three to four musicians from each state are selected each year.
“I know people from Hochstein and big musical schools that can’t get in,” Phillips said.
The band will kick off from Central Park and make its way to Herald Square, performing a total of three songs. This is Phillips’ first time entertaining an audience of millions, and that’s not his only first.
“I’ve never marched before and I’m very nervous,” Phillips said.
Although he’s also a bit nervous to memorize the music, he said he can’t wait to meet the other students and make the transition from his high school stage to a national one.
“It’s kind of a weight on my shoulders because it’s a big deal and it’s televised which is killer, but I think it’s going to be a cool experience and I’m going to learn a lot about it,” Phillips said. “It’s going to be fun. I’m going to like it and it’s going to be cool.”
To him, he is just one step closer to becoming like that man he saw in the practice room many years ago.
“I’m close to him, I’m almost like him,” Phillips said.
Phillips is also on his school’s swim, soccer, and tennis teams. He is a national champion in karate and holds a black belt.