When it comes to a family legacy, there can be a lot of pressure to carry on the tradition whatever it may be. With a sister with her master’s degree in music education and a musical theater grad brother, Jillian Leman ‘26 knows what it’s like to have a musical family, but she has learned how to appreciate music in her own right.
“My whole family has been really music oriented and it was kind of just a given that I would be too,” Leman said. “I started when I was three with voice lessons and it’s just escalated since.”
Currently, Leman is involved in almost every kind of ensemble that City High has to offer. She participates in Charisma show choir and Advanced treble choir but also is involved in the highest concert band Wind Ensemble and second highest jazz band Jazz Collective on Trumpet. Band director Mike Kowbel has high praise for all that Leman is doing.
“She’s overflowing with talent, and I’m really impressed that she sounds the way she sounds and can play what she can play as a freshman,” Kowbel said.
Leman thinks that she has learned a lot from her time surrounded by upperclassmen in the top ensembles and their support has really pushed her to get better and love music even more
“I like how I can kind of escape and be with really good people and good directors and it’s just really fun,” Leman said.
Since coming to City High this fall, Kowbel has already seen Leman take leaps and bounds in her musicianship and he says that it comes from her hard work and dedication toward her instrument.
“She came in realizing she was a pretty solid trumpet player, but I don’t know that she initially had the drive to be great at it,” Kowbel said. “As we’ve gone over the course of the year I’ve seen a fire get lit under her which is exciting to watch because that’s what separates people from the pack.”
This year Leman tried out for All-State choir and did not make it, but that did not stop her from getting accepted into another Iowa honor choir known as Opus for the fifth year in a row. She followed that up by getting first chair trumpet at the SEIBA district honor band in January. Leman is driven by these successes and hopes to make All-State next year as well as Jazz Ensemble on trumpet and 4th Ave Jazz Company in show choir.
“I feel like my successes really just make me want to get better and keep improving,” Leman said.
Based on what he has already seen out of Leman, Kowbel knows that great success is in her future.
“I think if she ends up choosing to focus on trumpet for All-State, there’s no doubt in my mind [that she will make it]; she’s that caliber of player,” Kowbel said.