The Student News Site of Hazelwood West High School

Wildcat Post

Wildcat Post

The Student News Site of Hazelwood West High School

Wildcat Post

Hazelwood West’s Music Extraordinaire

Student Spotlight: Joseph Viviano

Joseph Viviano, a senior at Hazelwood West is recognized for his exceptional musicianship skills, as well as his overall leadership within the school’s music department. During his high school career he has achieved a position in the All-Suburban Band, All-State Band, All-State Orchestra and All-State Jazz Band. Viviano also fulfilled the role of drum major during the 2023-2024 Hazelwood West Marching Band season, and has been an active participant in musicals for the past three years, serving as one of the performers in “pit.” 

Viviano’s primary instruments are tenor trombone, bass trombone and the euphonium. He began playing the trombone in the fourth grade, but his freshman year of high school was when he decided to heavily focus on increasing his craftsmanship. Efforts in practicing surely paid off, earning himself a spot in the All-Suburban Band and All-State Band his sophomore year. On a normal day, Viviano would practice two to four hours, but in the days leading up to the audition he would spend approximately six hours or even longer in preparation. This process continued on in the following years, proving to be effective.

“To get in my sophomore year, that was the hardest part. I just practiced everyday, starting at the end of September, and made sure to play each song each day. Whenever I would make a mistake, I would always go back until I got it right, and I would just do that everyday. That’s pretty much the same pattern I did all three years. Once I was in sophomore year, I just knew how to get better,” Viviano said. 

For the remaining All-Suburban, All-State and Solo and Ensemble auditions Viviano would partake in, he managed to receive a high chair or rating in each one of them. 

Outside of the competitive aspect of music, Viviano cherishes the tight-nit atmosphere of Hazelwood West’s band program. While participating in the school Jazz Band and Marching Band, he gets to bond with fellow bandmates as well as assist them on their musical journeys. As the marching band drum major his senior year, Viviano took on a lot of responsibilities as a leader. The challenge didn’t pose a threat, but rather it was enticing; he was eager to take on the authoritative position.

“I like that it was my job to help people. Whether it was playing an instrument, playing whatever part they may have forgotten, or just finding their coordinates on the field– I could help get things done quickly, and just help people along the way,” Viviano said. 

Being a master of the baton was quite enjoyable for Viviano, but he still missed being on the field. Without the exuberance of learning proper marching techniques, and playing while moving from one coordinate to the next, he wasn’t as satisfied. Viviano recalls a core memory of his high school experience when he had a trombone solo in the 2021-2022 Hazelwood West Marching Band show, Incognito. Looking back at that moment made him realize that standing on the drum major podium was incomparable to the excitement of executing a good performance.

“It’s much easier to go up there and conduct like three songs or four songs, so once you’re up there it’s already over. You have nothing to worry about. All you’re doing is setting a simple pattern, but if you’re on the field you have to remember your coordinates, the right notes, and playing with good sound, and matching with people around you, and then doing all that is just a lot more exciting and nerve racking than the entire show,.” Viviano said. 

Though performing the art in front of a crowd provides a euphoric sensation for Viviano, he also enjoys music in his leisure time. Whether it’s listening to soothing jazz to unwind, or playing piano for fun, he is able to adhere to his passions in a relaxing way. When the opportunity arises he will gladly play the trumpet or clarinet for his own amusement. 

Viviano’s love for music not only equipped him with the attributes to become a well-rounded musician, but it granted him the opportunity to potentially turn his hobby into a career. After auditioning for the acceptance and scholarship offer of six universities including UMSL, SIUE, UCM, University of Arkansas, University of North Texas and Indiana University, he was successful in his pursuits. Which college he’s attending remains undecided, but his hopes are to major in either music performance, music education or both. No matter the option, Viviano desires to do what he loves without any unnecessary pressure or stress.

“I definitely enjoy music, and like playing music, but I don’t like being forced to do well in music, and have it become a career. I don’t really like being competitive all the time. Just to get one job, you know it’s risky, especially if you don’t improve as much as you hope you would. So, if that happens I’ll just do something else besides music—something to do with psychology, or computer design,.” Viviano said. 

Whether he’s a professional musician or psychiatrist, it is guaranteed that Viviano will apply his talents in everyday life and impact people along the way. The ability to lead and teach are unique qualities that he plans to project in the future, and no obstacle will be big enough to block his path.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Wildcat Post

Your donation will support the student journalists of Hazelwood West High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Wildcat Post

Comments (0)

All Wildcat Post Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *