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Dylan Rader: I love playing the bass. It’s my passion

Above, junior Dylan Rader (top left) plays bass in a WHS orchestra concert. Rader has played bass for eight years and was chosen to perform as first chair bassist in the Eastern District Senior Festival orchestra.

Above, junior Dylan Rader (top left) plays bass in a WHS orchestra concert. Rader has played bass for eight years and was chosen to perform as first chair bassist in the Eastern District Senior Festival orchestra. "[Finding out I made first chair] was probably one of the happiest moments of my life," Rader said.

Meg Trogolo

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Imagine that you have put in years of hard work at playing an instrument you love, starting when you were a child. You auditioned for the Senior District festival, an ensemble you’ve had your eye on for a long time, and you just got an email containing the list of students who made it. You open it to find that not only is your name there, you have the honor of playing as first chair in your section.

Junior Dylan Rader experienced just that in November. He played as first chair bassist in the orchestra at the Eastern District Senior Festival in January.

“This year I worked a lot harder [than last year]. I made it my goal to get first chair,” Rader said. “I was extremely happy. It was probably one of the happiest moments in my life.”

On Nov. 19, WHS band, chorus, and orchestra students boarded buses for Milton High School, where they auditioned to perform in Senior District ensembles. Rader auditioned as a sophomore, so his experience helped him once it was his turn to play.

“I was a bit nervous, but once I actually got in there, I didn’t think about the audition and just thought about playing,” Rader said. “I played how I normally do and it went really well for me.”

Ever since the first time Rader saw a bass nine years ago, he knew it was the instrument for him.

“I saw the instrument when [music teachers] came around [to talk about band and orchestra] in second grade,” Rader said. “I just first decided to play it and I’ve stuck with it since.”

Rader began playing orchestra bass in third grade and jazz bass in fifth grade. According to him, although his family did not know much about the instrument, they encouraged him as he learned to play. He takes private bass lessons and has had the same teacher since he began playing.

“[My private teacher has] really pushed me,” Rader said. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be at the level I am today, so if I ever need help, I always go to him.”

Rader’s favorite style to play is intense orchestral music, such as the Mars movement of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets,” but he is also a skilled jazz bassist who plays in WHS’ honors jazz ensemble. Band director Joe Oneschuk did not work with Rader before this year, but expressed appreciation for Rader’s influence on the jazz band.

“He always has his music. He’s very responsible,” Oneschuk said. “It’s interesting, often the bass is referred to as the backbone of an ensemble because everything rests on top of the bass and the drums. I think he’s like that in general.”

Oneschuk, who was assistant jazz manager at this year’s Senior District auditions, found out that Rader would be first chair bassist at the festival at the end of the day. He and Memoli, who was also at the festival, were glad to hear the news.

“As far as the bass instruments, we have the top in the district, which is really great. It was great knowing that night going home that we had gotten that,” Oneschuk said. “To get first chair in district is a huge honor. Just to make it is a huge honor. That really was great, and I think his hard work and diligence have paid off.”

After eight years of that hard work and diligence, Rader still remembers what drove him to start playing the instrument.

“I work really hard and I love playing the bass. It’s my passion,” Rader said.

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Dylan Rader: I love playing the bass. It’s my passion