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Pyke+stands+and+solos+at+the+Essentially+Ellington+Jazz+Competition+and+Festival+in+New+York+City%2C+where+he+would+later+lead+the+section+to+an+Outstanding+Award.
Pyke stands and solos at the Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition and Festival in New York City, where he would later lead the section to an Outstanding Award.

Pyke stands and solos at the Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition and Festival in New York City, where he would later lead the section to an Outstanding Award.

Benjamin Eyman

Benjamin Eyman

Pyke stands and solos at the Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition and Festival in New York City, where he would later lead the section to an Outstanding Award.

By Ciara Laney, Photo Co-Editor

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Senior Ethan Pyke is the lead trombone player in Jazz 1 and also a prominent student in the computer science pathway in STEM at MTHS. “I like to incorporate music and STEM together which is something that not many people do,” Pyke said.

Childhood Impacts

Growing up, Pyke’s family had lots of influence in both his music and STEM career. Pyke is both Vietnamese and British.

“My dad’s side is the British side, and they have really been the driving force on my music passion,” Pyke said.

Pyke’s paternal grandmother was an important figure for him as a musician. Pyke recalls that she “was a really devoted musician.”

“Everytime I went over to her house she played piano for me and taught me how to play duets on the piano with her,” Pyke said.

Pyke’s Vietnamese heritage had a great influence on his academic career, pushing him to work hard and pursue a rigorous academic program.

“My mom’s side is Vietnamese, and one of the things that Vietnamese people push the most is hardwork and determination, so they have really pushed me on school work and all that,” Pyke said.

Jazz

Pyke is known for being the lead trombone player in Jazz 1. Pyke and his father both play the trombone.

“Having him play trombone and then me being able to continue that was really one of the driving forces of me starting band,” Pyke said. “Once I got to middle school that passion came from my middle school band director, Ron Madden. He really inspired me to continue it and when I got to high school I went to the Mountlake Terrace Jazz Band, as it’s one of the best ones in the country.”

Over Pyke’s four years of high school, he was twice able to attend the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition & Festival, which is hosted in New York by one of the nation’s best jazz orchestras, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JLCO). This is a national competition where only fifteen out of over 100 bands are selected to compete. As a senior, while Pyke was the lead trombonist, JLCO awarded his section the Outstanding Trombone Section Award.

“For the past few years we’ve made it to the Essentially Ellington competition which this school has only done a couple other times for consecutive years,” Pyke said. “I hope that we can extend this streak even to longer periods of time, so maybe next year if they go for a third time in a row that’ll be the longest streak in Terrace history.”

During the road to success, Pyke realized one recurring challenge is communication and being able to work in unity.

“Being able to overcome that and to make music is definitely one of the harder things we had to learn how to do,” Pyke said. “Now as a senior I pride myself in being able to help diminish conflicts in the band because I’ve been through all of those situations where I had to learn how to overcome that. It was conflicts that were super hard to overcome and learn how to fix that, and after doing that I’ve learned how to fix it later on.”

STEM

One moment that altered Pyke’s life was his decision to come to MTHS. Pyke went to Alderwood Middle School and lived in the boundary for Lynnwood High School. However, he e was able to attend to MTHS to be in the STEM program.

“My first day of freshman year was definitely scary,” Pyke said. “I didn’t know anybody, so I was definitely shy and timid and afraid to meet new people because I was very self conscious about myself coming from a [different] middle school. I wasn’t always the most popular kid.”

The first day of high school for Pyke was greatly different from his first day of senior year, which can be attributed to his involvement in music and academics.

“The first day of senior year was a lot different,” Pyke said. I knew a lot of people and I had a lot of friends. I had a spot in the jazz band as well as in the STEM program and so I was a lot more comfortable coming into the school year.”

Pyke entered the computer science pathway in STEM, where he discovered yet another one of his passions.

“Before high school I didn’t have much experience with [computer science] and through the STEM program I’ve been able to learn a lot more about it and I realized it is actually the thing I want to do after college,” Pyke said.

As in jazz, communication was a necessity in STEM. One way Pyke’s group solved their communication challenge was working “Cohesively as a team where each part depends on the other part so we couldn’t do things in steps. Instead we had to do things altogether.”

Pyke advises other STEM students to be good communicators in groups.

“Actually telling [group members] what needs to be done and asking them to do their part, and you as well doing your part to work in a team is definitely essential to having a fluent and cohesive team,” Pyke said.

Bridge Between Both Worlds

Pyke has been able to bridge his passions and experiences in music and computer science.

“I’m really into computer science, more into the programming aspects of it,” Pyke said. “My academic projects have been related to computer science and music. For example, I’ve been working on a sort of transcribing app which takes music and the wavelengths of each individual note, [then takes] those wavelengths and [turns them] into actual notes in a program.”

During Pyke’s four years of high school, he has been able to utilize his experiences in the STEM program as well as in jazz band.

“I’ve definitely become more comfortable with myself being able to talk with others and make connections through the STEM program and through the jazz band. I’ve been able to make connections with professionals in the fields,” Pyke said. “I got into contact with Microsoft professionals, leaders of programming teams at Microsoft. I occasionally got into contact with professional jazz musicians in the Seattle area as well.”

Post-High School

In five years Pyke hopes to “have a stable job and a family,” but he can’t see himself straying away from the interests in computer science and music he has today.

Pyke received early admittance for the computer science program at the University of Washington Seattle. After high school, Pyke plans on playing more music.

“I plan on at least doing marching band at UW as well as maybe joining the jazz band or a jazz combo,” Pyke said. “I know I will be loaded with a lot of school work and all that, but because I was directly admitted it frees up a lot of time to be able to do all these other music activities that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to do at other places.”

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About the Writer
Ciara Laney, Staff

Sophomore Ciara Laney is enduring her second year of Hawkeye. Last year, she discovered a passion for photojournalism and earned an excellent award at the National High School Journalism Convention in the spring of 2017 under the literary magazine category photography. Outside of journalism, Laney is the Class of 2020 ASB president, MTHS Key Club treasurer, and is involved in swim and tennis.

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From New York to new discoveries