A Note-able Impact


Gabe has spent her last four years learning through her peers and expanding her knowledge in band.

Kelly Cronin, Crown Writer and Photographer

The smooth sounds of the clarinet echo in the halls of Marian Central as a senior, Gabe McKenna, recalls her most precious memories in the band program. Most people have a passion for life. Whether it’s a sport, creative arts, or playing an instrument. In Gabe McKenna’s (12) case, her love of playing the clarinet has been a crucial part to the person she is today. Her love for the art of instruments began as a juvenile 5th grader. Mckenna’s passion and devotion this instrument outweigh the many other extracurricular activities she has participated in throughout middle school and high school. Mckenna’s love for music will continue far behind Marian.

Mckenna plans to join the Fighting Irish marching band among four hundred other bands enthused students. She has been accepted into Notre Dame College. As she dives into this new chapter of life, Mckenna is nervous yet mostly excited for the changes and experiences to come. She believes that though it might be a challenging transition going from such a small scale band to a large one, she is ready for the challenge. Her drive and ambition have led to a thirst for challenges and new experiences to conquer. One of the most compelling aspects of joining the Notre Dame marching band for McKenna is that she will be surrounded by such a broad amount of people that can teach her and help her grow into a better musician and performer.

The difference between a good musician and a great musician can be determined off of influencers around them. For McKenna, it was a solid mix between friends and role models whom she looked up throughout her band career. She mentioned that having a best friend to bounce ideas off of and learn from is the best way to learn. McKenna states “It’s comforting to struggle with someone as opposed to doing it alone. It makes the whole process feel less lonely.” She also mentioned a time where a girl in the grade above her had such a large influence on her and her musical journey. “ It always helps to have someone more skilled than you that drives you to better yourself. It’s such a huge motivation” It is a fact that those around you influence you the most which are especially true in McKenna’s situation.

Her passion has lead to many inadvertent effects in her life. The band has been such a prominent part in McKenna’s life ever since she was in middle school. “This is the place where I have formed so many bonds and amazing friendships and that has lasted to this day,” says McKenna. She mentions that the band helped tremendously in making friends considering the fact she only knew a couple of people going into high school. “Band kids were the first people I befriended”. Not only the friends but the events relating to the band have been such a big part of her life. Such as the school band events and band camp. She looked forward to events such as band camp and school band events months in advance.

Throughout the years, McKenna has acquired a number of awards and recognitions relating to the band. Her accomplishments are a reflection of the hard work she has put in. Three out of her four years in the band, McKenna has been first chair clarinet. Meaning she has led the group of musicians who play the clarinet. In middle school, Johnsburg band won a state recognition award. One of her most honorable achievements was being invited to participate in the Mchenry County Honors Band. This prestigious award is allowed only to those who earn the position through proven consistent hard work. McKenna has dedicated a large portion of her life to the art that she loves the most. The influence this passion has had in her life has to lead the opening of multiple doors and opportunities.