By: Julia Lawson
Pictures provided by: Kevin Foley
Music for many is a hobby, something to listen to when bored. But for junior Kevin Foley it is more than a casual extracurricular; it is a passion.
Focusing the majority of his free time on percussion, Foley plays the marimba, which is similar to the xylophone, for the marching band in the fall and for indoor percussion in the winter.
“It just felt so unique, and I felt so special playing it,” Foley said of the instrument. “It has such a big range of notes and I can play anything on it.”
Foley has been a part of indoor percussion since freshman year and has fond memories of spending time with his fellow percussionists.
“When we were at [WGI World Championships] we were making forts and having nerf wars in our hotel,” Foley said with a laugh.
It is not all fun and games, though. The indoor percussion ensemble is a mix of several different percussive instruments.
“I love that there are a bunch of instruments that can play a lot of different sounds,” Foley said.
Just like mix of sounds the instruments in the ensemble can make, the marimba also plays a wide variety of sounds and notes. The multiple different ways to play and produce sound are what drew Foley to the marimba in the first place.
“One of the things that hooked me on marimba was how much you could develop from the basic level,” Foley said. “I learned my scales and learned them to heart, learned new grips to hold mallets and new styles of producing quality sound, including learning how to hold four mallets. It seems like there is always something to work on and get better.”
It takes time and work to master all the styles and techniques required to play the marimba, but unlike many musicians, Foley does not practice at home to polish up his playing style.
“Due to the impracticality of having your own marimba at home, I can’t practice like I could here at school,” Foley said. “I spend the time here at school wisely and take advantage of what time time I have to practice, including right before and after school starts and also during most study halls and some STaRs.”
All the practice Foley puts in will be helpful if one day humanity is faced with its worst fear.
“If a zombie apocalypse was to come, I would build a fort out of all of our instruments and learn war chants to fend them off. The refugees in our hideout would learn to play music so obnoxiously that it would fend off the zombies. We would win in the end, obviously,” Foley said.
Zombie apocalypse or not, Foley will continue playing the marimba. It’s his passion, afterall.