CRYSTAL — Josh Hockemeyer is one of the newest members of the Michigan State University brass band.
The 2012 graduate of Carson City-Crystal High School plays alto saxophone for the band.
“Being with the Spartan brass has been an incredible experience,” said 19-year-old Hockemeyer. “The sound of the band, the excitement of those in the band and even the excitement of the student section make each game worthwhile.”
Hockemeyer began his freshman year at MSU last fall. He is studying zoology.
“I chose this particular field because I have a deep passion for animals,” he said. “I could not imagine myself doing anything else with my career path at this point.”
As a member of the Spartan brass band, Hockemeyer balances academics, band and work with a positive attitude.
“It is tough because it is leagues above what high school requires of you,” Hockemeyer said. “I am at the residential college of science, Lyman Briggs, but even with it being difficult, it is still a lot of fun and a great experience.”
CC-C High School Band Director Chad Parmenter was pleased to see Hockemeyer make the band.
“It is very exciting to see Josh use his talents in college playing in a Big Ten setting,” Parmenter said.
While attending CC-C Area Schools, Hockemeyer played alto saxophone for seven years under Parmenter’s direction.
“At one time he was one of the section leaders,” Parmenter said. “During his senior year he may not have had a leadership title, however, Josh was always a leader among his peers.”
Parmenter said he doesn’t have a teaching motto while directing his students in band. Instead he tries to energize and inspire students about continuing to play music.
“I encourage the kids to play music for a lifetime,” Parmenter said. “Music doesn’t have to end with high school. I tell the kids it can be in college, the community or just for fun I just want to encourage them to continue to play music.”
The MSU brass band is under the direction of Professor John Madden. The band plays at all men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball games and men’s ice hockey games. The ensemble also travels to various locations across the country for tournaments at the end of the winter athletic season.
“The band is split into two different bands, green and white,” Hockemeyer said. “Each band will play at different games. For men’s basketball, the whole band plays. I myself am in the green band and have played at almost every single game for the green band.”
One of Hockemeyer’s most memorable moments this year was playing at a pep rally.
“My favorite day with the Spartan brass was the day when I was chosen with about 20 to 30 others to play the pep rally at Buffalo Wild Wings,” Hockemeyer said. “As I left, many people outside of the band came up and thanked me for coming. It felt good to be appreciated for doing something I love.”
Hockemeyer said his family and friends were excited to hear he was accepted to play with the brass band.
“They think it is awesome,” Hockemeyer said. “Some plan on coming down to the campus some day and watch me play.”
Hockemeyer has a full schedule, but hopes to finish his first year at MSU strong.
“During the last semester, my academic calendar was mainly work, classes and Spartan brass,” Hockemeyer said. “I currently work in the East Neighborhood Dining Services, where I do anything from washing dishes, to helping prep for the next meal. Over the course of my first year at MSU, I will have acquired 26 credits while taking classes such as chemistry, calculus, statistics, and even the class for Spartan brass.
“This upcoming year at MSU hopefully will bring more fun experiences with the Spartan brass,” he said. “I also plan on trying out for the MSU marching band for next year as well.”