The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

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Nathaniel Ballard: Multi-talented bassist battles back after accident

Senior+Nathaniel+Ballard+performing+a+song+with+band+American+Cheddar+at+round+one+of+Terrace+Got+Talent.
©HAWKEYE image credit: Seras Bryner
Senior Nathaniel Ballard performing a song with band “American Cheddar” at round one of Terrace Got Talent.

Who else loves bass? No, not the fish, the instrument! From the moment senior Nathaniel Ballard was born, his life was flooded with music from his father, grandfather and even his aunt. Throughout his school career, he always played stringed instruments, like the cello in elementary, and guitar in his early high school years. Since his dad is a phenomenal guitarist, as Ballard put it, string instruments have always been more accessible for him. Other than these instruments, Ballard has also played the occasional trumpet.
“String instruments have been a little bit more accessible. I have played trumpet like a little bit, I’ve gone to a couple of pep pan games with the trumpet.” He said. “I can play like tequila, you know, and I’ve messed around. But I’ve always found the string instruments to be a little bit more fun.” Throughout the last few years, despite the pandemic (you can roll your eyes) taking a hit while he was an underclassmen at Terrace, Ballard’s favorite part of his entire school career has been our band program, run by Darin Faul. What could’ve gotten him into this program? His close friend, Seth Meyers.
“The band program is the best thing that ever happened to me. I thank Seth Meyers. Not as much as I should for getting me into that. But you know, it’s such an amazing experience.” Ballard said. The band at MTHS has brought Ballard so much joy and opportunity throughout his high school career, but especially his senior year, when he truly began being engulfed in jazz. Part of being in the band during this year meant that he was able to play in the pit orchestra for this year’s spring musical, ‘The Addams Family’.
“With all the other vamps and you know, playing while the musicians are talking, all the actors are talking and mixing everything together and having it perfect is super powerful.” He said. “Even just down in the pit I can, I can feel how much potential it has.” During the musical, Ballard plays more than one instrument, so he has to switch between electric guitar, bass, and stand up bass. The guitar and electric bass aren’t too difficult to pick up, and as Ballard described it, the stand up bass is a beast.
Along with the rest of Ballard’s musical career, in college, while Ballard does plan on furthering his music education, he plans to get a degree in mechanical engineering at Washington State University.
Originally, Ballard was prepared to go to Edmonds-Woodway High school. How did he end up at Terrace? Our STEM magnet program! Computer science was the STEM pathway Ballard wanted to take. But, after his freshman year, taking intro to engineering design, commonly known as IED, he found a new part of STEM he loved. As mentioned before, Ballard’s interest in music was heavily influenced by his dad and grandpa. Both play guitar and sing, even at a professional level.
“He’s [his dad] a good singer and songwriter, my grandpa’s a professional musician. He plays guitar and sings. And does these gigs all the time.” He said. Being surrounded by music might’ve launched his music career, but during junior year, Ballard got into a car accident that heavily impacted his ability to play music. While this was terrible, it also taught him that it’s okay to ask for help.
“It’s tough to do school, I couldn’t look at a screen, I couldn’t look down at a piece of paper. school, school got tough. Music got tough because I couldn’t put the guitar strap around my neck.” He said. “You know, and it didn’t get better until I asked for help. Until I started talking to Faul and working with him to try and figure out ways for me to be able to play.” Even after such an accident, Ballard can’t imagine life any other way, and took senior year as his opportunity to really improve. His friend, Meyers, agrees on Ballard’s improvement. Ballard and Meyers suggest that every student should get into music, whether just listening or being a part of the music programs at Terrace. In fact, they believe it should be a part of everyone’s life.

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About the Contributors
Terina Papatu, Hawkeye Co-Editor-in-Chief
After joining in her freshman year (2021), Terina Papatu developed a love for all things journalism. She originally joined on accident to tell the truth, but as of her junior year she is Co-Editor-in-Chief. In the future, she plans to study reporter journalism and become a writer professionally, and currently loves to help her friends with their writing as well. When not working on Hawkeye, she loves listening to music and reports for Ground Zero Radio. This year, Terina plans to make HSM an inclusive space as well as being a representation she didn’t have before.
Seras Bryner, Hawkeye Co-Editor-in-Chief
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