During fifth grade, ICCSD schools offer students the opportunity to join band or orchestra and learn a new instrument. According to Linus McRoberts ‘26, joining band was the cool thing to do back then.
“I started playing in band during 5th grade because it sounded fun, and a lot of my friends were doing it,” McRoberts said.
A lot has changed since those elementary school years for McRoberts. He now is second trombone in both the top performing concert band known as Wind Ensemble and the top jazz band called Jazz Ensemble. According to band director Mike Kowbel, McRoberts has shown extreme drive and dedication to be great even though he is just a freshman.
“He works his tail off,” Kowbel said. “He’s disciplined to keep working hard, and he asks great questions to try and get better.”
After joining band as a fifth grader, McRoberts did not start taking lessons until eighth grade where he says his teacher really pushed him to want to get better. He is now self-motivated to continue to seek to become the best musician possible.
“It’s fun to be able to play music that sounds good, and then have people enjoy it,” McRoberts said.
McRoberts was selected as an All-State alternate this year but followed that up by getting third chair at the SEIBA district honor band and qualifying for the University of Northern Iowa honor band. Kowbel considers him almost a shoo-in for AllState next year because of the solid continuous growth he has observed in McRoberts during his short time at City High.
“Every time I hear him play he sounds better than he did the time before and so that just shows me he’s working really hard and staying devoted to the instrument,” Kowbel said.
Despite all of the praise from his director, McRoberts is still focused on learning everything he can from his time in the top ensembles at City High because he knows it will only help him with his future music ambitions. Among other things, he has valued learning about the musical maturity that is expected in top-performing ensembles.
“[I have learned] a lot about being more professional and not making what you could call rookie mistakes,” McRoberts said.