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District Music Contest

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Polak wraps up his music career on a high note

HARTINGTON - Jeremiah Polak is ending his high school years on a strong note.

The Cedar Catholic High School senior has been a music student since kindergarten, when he started in choir at Holy Trinity Elementary. He later became involved in band in fourth grade.

“I like to do the extracurricular activities like band and choir because I enjoy playing the music and singing, of course,” Polak said. “I made it to All-State this year, so that was a big achievement for me, especially because it’s my last year since I’m a senior.”

He continued with band and choir after he entered seventh grade at Cedar Catholic and that did not change in high school.

“Sophomore year, I did have to skip band for a year because they require us to do strength training one year, but I still played pep band for the football games,” Polak said.

As a part of the Trojans’ music program, Polak has primarily played the guitar, though he has been a percussionist in the past in marching band with experience on cymbals and the bass drum.

He explained why he also enjoys being a singer.

“I have passion for it,” Polak said. “I’ve always had a passion for this ever since I was little. I just like to sing, so it just gives me a feeling of calmness.

“It’s just fun,” he said. “When you go to the different events, you can meet different people there that are there for the same reason you are.”

He attended his final Nebraska School Activities Association District Music Contest as a Cedar Catholic student on April 22. The 2022 event was hosted by neighboring Hartington-New castle High School.

“It is sad a little bit, but I’m also happy because I know these kids will continue to be in band and choir, so I’m really grateful for that,” Polak said.

He has not had the opportunity to attend the district music contest all four years of his high school career.

A snowstorm prevented Polak and other Trojan students from traveling out of town to attend the event during his freshman year.

COVID-19 caused the district music contest - and several other school events - to be canceled during his sophomore year.

Now that he has been two years in a row, Polak said, “I’ve really enjoyed just going to them, watching other people perform, especially other bands and choirs, just to see how they do it. It’s just, overall, a fun experience.”

He noted he will always remember playing music with his classmates during his final district music contest.

“It’ll be kind of sad to leave, but like I said, it’ll be great that they’re just continuing this band and choir,” Polak said. “It’s really awesome.”

He explained he plans to go to Northeast Community College in Norfolk to major in audio and recording technology and to become a soundboard engineer.

“With that, I might get to help out at (Northeast’s Jazz Festival), which I hopefully will because then I will get to see these guys,” Polak said of his fellow Cedar Catholic music students.

He noted music will continue to be part of his life at NECC.

“I’d like to form a band in college,” Polak said, adding the group would play rock music. “I’m hoping I can achieve that.”

He described the skills he has learned from music that he can apply to his life after high school.

“I’ve developed a lot of, I would say definitely, leadership skills because being a senior, we’re the leaders of the class,” Polak said. “I’ve developed more friendships, which is great.”