Notre Dame senior helps celebrate Veteran's Day at FCA headquarters with a moving piece on the trumpet.
Notre Dame senior Rebecca Smith's first responsibility in the school's marching band is as drum major. But it was her skills with the trumpet that caught the ear — and perhaps a teary eye or two — of those in attendance on November 2 as she played Taps at FCA's headquarters in Auburn Hills.
"It was for a Veteran's Day ceremony that celebrated the 100th anniversary of the armistice agreement between the Allies of World War I and Germany," said Smith, who also plays French horn in the symphony band. "I'm very involved in the band program."
That is an understatement, especially if you listen to Notre Dame band director Joe Martin.
"Rebecca is an amazing band student," said Martin. "She has always volunteered to lead the band in many ways. That might mean coming in early to help set up, organize an outing, or stay late to clean up afterwards. Her musicianship is just as worthy for praise. Rebecca has a great ear for music. She has perfect pitch, which means that she can hear a note and know not only what note it is, but how in tune it is. Where there is a need, there is always Rebecca volunteering to help again."
Smith is the first trumpet/soloist in the honors jazz band and the pit orchestra. However, she's not playing trumpet in the symphony band this year because she just picked up the French horn this semester, and she doesn't play trumpet in the marching band because she's been the head drum major for the past three years.
"We didn't have a French horn in the band this year and she asked me if I had one for her to try," Martin said. "A couple of days later, she was playing French horn as if she's been playing for years. I was very impressed! I could go on and on about her, but you get the point. She is the heart and soul of the band."
It's not just band and going to class for Smith at her high school. She is involved in a myriad of other activities at Notre Dame, including volunteering as a peer leader. She's also a member of the National Honor Society, a staff writer for the school newspaper and a flag in the Winter Guard. As far as the next stage of her academic career?
"I'm considering majoring in psychology or neuroscience, but I'm not really sure yet," said Smith. "Music isn't out of the question either. As for the college, the University of Michigan seems like the most likely option."
And what does this senior say about her three-plus years so far at Notre Dame?
"My Notre Dame experience has been very positive," said Smith, who came to NDP from Mason Middle School in Waterford. "At Notre Dame, besides the academics, I have the chance to explore different activities through a large number of clubs and sports."
She also gives kudos to the school's character and spirit.
"The people here are some of the kindest I've ever met in my life, and I really feel like I'm part of a huge family," she said. "The atmosphere here encourages every student to challenge themselves personally and academically, and the overall drive to succeed present in every student is very refreshing. NDP also encourages student independence and I feel like I've been preparing for life through learning how to balance my extracurriculars and schoolwork.
"I'm proud of my school, and I'm proud of how much I've grown throughout the years!"
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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school's upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at www.ndpma.org