Photo courtesy of Annie Bennett
In addition to making good grades and being involved in the Broughton Jazz Band, junior Annie Bennett has the extraordinary nighttime job of playing jazz gigs downtown during the week.
She is not the average Broughton student. “I play in restaurants around the Triangle, and downtown at the Big Easy every week,” Bennett said.
“My favorite part about playing for an audience is when it responds emotionally to music that I am playing,” she said.
This student-by-day, jazz performer-by-night has earned esteem through out her time at high school. Bennett has won several awards for her work with the Jazz Band at Broughton. Bennett plays the saxophone and has been playing it formany years. Bennett has had many opportunities to practice her skills.
“I got into the all-regional and all-state jazz bands freshman and sophomore year, and I’ll be playing in the all- national jazz band this October. There are open auditions for the all-regional jazz bands. To be eligible to audition forall-state jazz, you must have made all-region jazz, and to be eligible to audition for all- national, you must have gotten into the all-state jazz band in your state,” Bennett said.
These honors have not come without Bennett’s hard work and persistence, who practices playing regularly to prepare for her auditions.
“It is very cool to have a classmate of mine to have so much passion for jazz. Many people do not appreciate this genre of music as they should,” junior Eliza Taylor said.
Bennett has also had to learn how to balance school with her extra-curricular jazz activities to ensure her success.
Both school and her music are very important to Bennett, and she wants to do her best at both.
So how does Bennett tackle schoolwork and gigs each week?
“I plan out my schedule for the week over the weekend, so I know what homework I need to do in advance. The hardest part about balancing my time is not procrastinating and completing my work ahead of time,” Bennett said.
Bennett’s persistent work ethic and determination do not go unnoticed, either.
“Annie works hard for everything she accomplishes. It is no wonder why she does so well at what she is involved in. She is very talented,” junior Emily Roe said.
This hard work does not come without reward to Bennett, who has been playing the saxophone since fourth grade.
“I enjoy having the freedom to express myself through music,” Bennett said.
“I started playing because I had always wanted to learn an instrument, and the saxophone was the first thing that came to my mind when I asked my mom if I could take music lessons.”
Bennett decided she wanted to start playing an instrument because of her mom.
“My mom sang classically in college, so I grew up with lots of music around the house. That inspired me to want to learn an instrument,” Bennett said.
Bennett also found inspiration from her favorite jazz musicians, Stan Getz and Cannonball Adderley, who both play the saxophone.
Bennett plans on furthering her love for jazz music by continuing to play gigs at night.
She hopes to minor or double major in jazz performance in college to keep up her love for the music.