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Dobra's musical drive toward ECU


     Senior Brandon Dobra felt a calling to music starting his sixth grade year and since then, he has picked up many musical talents with various musical instruments and has made it his passion. 

     Dobra started music because his older sister decided to play an instrument her sixth grade year and Dobra became very interested. He decided to play an instrument his sixth grade year when he attended C.M. Eppes Middle School. 

     “Ever since then it has grown into a form of my life,” Dobra said.



Photo by Elliot Flinchbaugh

     Dobra currently plays both the trumpet and euphonium for Rose’s bands, the Wind Ensemble Band and the Jazz Band Blue while also attending his class on Advanced Placement (AP) Music Theory at Rose. 

     “The euphonium is the only instrument that has meaning to its name,” Dobra said.

     For those of you who don’t know the euphonium is a smaller version of the tuba that’s meant to hit higher notes, it's a tenor-voiced brass instrument that derives its name from the Greek word euphōnos, meaning “beautiful sound” or “sweet-voiced”.

     “Playing euphonium is just very soothing and relaxing just to listen to,” Dobra said. “It gets tough the higher I go, but it’s just really nice to listen to.”

     While Dobra does not love playing the trumpet as much as he enjoys playing the euphonium, he does not mind it.

     “I just play it [trumpet] to play it,” Dobra said. “I practice [my instruments] around seven hours a week and I try to play everyday.”

     Dobra does not just play music related to what his classes or bands entail, he enjoys playing various genres of music.

     “I do enjoy playing “Never Enough” from the ‘Greatest Showman,’ and right now we’re playing a piece called ‘Prelude, Siciliano and Rondo’ and it’s three movements and it’s just amazing,” Dobra said.

     Since Dobra is a senior, his years of playing for Rose’s marching band ended this past fall semester. He played for the Marching Rampants for five years all throughout high school and during his eighth grade year.

     “I do enjoy playing in band and performing for others, it’s very nice,” Dobra said.

     Dobra does not just perform for others in band, he is also involved in his church and plays the cajon performing for his church.

     “I play the cajon which is a box drum, it would fall under the percussion category, it's just a little box that you beat the crap out of,” Dobra said.

     Another time Dobra has performed, was recently for an East Carolina University (ECU) audition for their School of Music and the scholarships they offer for prospective students.

     “I had an ECU audition with a piece called ‘Hands Across The Sea,’ it’s a very nice march performed by the U.S. Marine Band,” Dobra said. “‘Hands Across The Sea’ is a very fast piece and with how fast I can go compared to how fast it needs to be, it’s just very tough to try.” 

     While the piece is difficult, he does not let that deter him from practicing and trying even harder to perfectly match the speed of “Hands Across The Sea.” 

      “Right now I'm still working with one of my band directors on it, but it's getting better,” Dobra said. “I would like to match the real tempo.”

     Dobra has been accepted into ECU and the ECU School of Music where he plans to attend next fall majoring in music education. He is still awaiting for the School of Music’s scholarship decisions. Dobra is excited and looks forward to continuing his musical endeavors at the School of Music here in Greenville.

     “I’ve lived here all my life, I’ve gotten to see the Marching Pirates, I've gotten to hear the Wind Ensembles perform and their professors there [at ECU] are amazing,” Dobra said. “I've gotten to meet a lot of them and some of their kids go here [Rose] so I've gotten to make connections.”

      Dobra is excited for all the opportunities that ECU has to offer, including the various bands and other music programs they have available to him.

     “ECU has a really nice band in my opinion, they’re not as popular as Ohio State but they are home and they are just beautiful,” Dobra said. “They have multiple different bands so if I don’t want to be in the honors band, I can be in the concert band or a club band or a marching band; they just give me a variety of options.”

     Dobra will hear back from the School of Music in two weeks from now, on whether he gets a scholarship. The School of Music awards over $300,000 in scholarships to music majors each year, which students have to go through auditions to be considered for.

      “The audition process was not what I expected because it starts off with an interview, then a test, then another test and then you get to perform and then you're done,” Dobra said.

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