“Music is a part of who I am. I’m all over the spectrum with what I like.”
Meet Kinnear Pierzchala, Sequim City Band trombonist
When he was in third grade, Kinnear Pierzchala’s school had a demonstration of instruments. It was the trombone that called to him. It looked like the most fun, he says. In fifth grade, he became a part of his school’s band. That’s when music really became a part of who he is. “Someone said I had great brass lips,” he said. “You have to pinch your lips just right and then use your breath just right to coax the music out of the instrument. I play trombone and tuba, but if someone asks me to pick a favorite, I say it’s like being asked to pick your favorite child. I just like playing! ”
Kinnear, who already owned two trombones, saw a baritone tuba on eBay, one of only 150 made by H & White Company out of Cleveland, Ohio. The widow of the man who had played it was offering it for sale. Kinnear thought it looked “neat” and so bought it. “It’s old and hard to play,” he said. “It was meant for street bands of the time, anything played outside, such as marching bands, or street corner bands. It’s tuned differently than modern tubas. But I enjoy playing it.”
Kinnear got comfortable performing before audiences when he was in high school, learning that once he could convince himself with the music, he knew he could convince others. He performed in concert bands in Boston, then at Port Angeles High School after moving here in 2017, his junior year. At Port Angeles High School, Kinnear performed in the Concert Band, the Symphonic Band, the Wind Ensemble, and the Jazz Band. He joined the Sequim Concert Band in 2017 the same year he moved to Port Angeles. When the stage lights come up and the house lights go down during an indoor performance, he’s more aware of being with his fellow musicians, but because he sees the subtlety of movement of audience silhouettes, he can tell how they are reacting. One of his favorite moments was when they performed “One Life Beautiful” by Julie Giroux. He could feel how moved the audience was. Outdoor venues have their own challenges, he says. The first performance is always a bit nerve-wracking for him. He can see the audience, recognizes there are people out there listening to it. It might be cold or hot. Then there’s the wind. There’s no resonance, so he is a bit more eccentric with how he plays so it doesn’t dissipate into the air.
He feels the silence has been deafening since COVID hit, the year after he graduated from high school. Wednesday nights at seven o’clock were the best for him; he got out of the house, got together with friends to make music. With COVID, he says, it was as if someone flipped a light switch.
“We would have been performing our second or third concert by now. So, during the silence, I blew dust off memory lane,” he says “to keep music a part of me. I went back to the solo tenor trombones pieces I played back in Boston. Solo brass pieces are pretty intricate.” He’s seen how the music of the Sequim Concert Band brings the community together. Carrie Blake Park is packed for their 4th of July concert he says. People listen in their cars. Strangers meet and become friends. A small group soon becomes a larger group as people reach out to each other. Connections are made as people not only listen to the music, but exchange referrals for electricians or plumbers. All because they came to listen to the Sequim City Band. “I’m ready to get the band back together,” Kinnear says.
Kinnear enjoys the wide variety lives represented by the performers in the band, everything from high school students to master mechanics from Mercedes to locksmiths, pastors, priests,doctors, and nurses. They unite in their love of performing music, led by Tyler Benedict who, Kinnear says, does a “great job of herding cats”. Someday he hopes to put together a street band and play his baritone tuba with a quartet of brass players.
Kinnear was elected to the Board of Directors in the Fall of 2021 and currently serves as Vice-President.