Monroe High senior and drum major Thomas Cripe is into music, but his sights are set on pursuing business or law studies at the UW. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Monroe High senior and drum major Thomas Cripe is into music, but his sights are set on pursuing business or law studies at the UW. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Monroe High School senior has music on his mind

Thomas Cripe is a drum major, bass player and Eagle Scout. He’s also looking for some gigs.

MONROE — Thomas Cripe, 18, of Maltby, is the lead drum major at Monroe High School. He’s been learning the double bass for the past three years and he’s played in jazz combos outside of school. He’s also an Eagle Scout.

Q: So you do music?

A: I’m in band. … You’ll see me up there conducting and doing all the parade stuff. I play upright bass in band. Also, I’m in the honor jazz choir, which is fun — but I have to get up at 6:50 a.m., and be here early in the morning before any classes. I’m also in the drama program, doing the musicals and all those shows. So it’s kind of my life, a little bit, but I enjoy it.

Q: So if you’re the drum major, did you start out playing drums?

A: Drum major just means you’re kind of the leader of the band. Everyone asks, ‘Do you play drums?’ I’m like, ‘No, I don’t, but I wish.’ But I started out playing baritone saxophone, the big ones, my freshman year. Switched to upright bass my sophomore year. Then since junior year I’ve been a drum major.

Q: What inspired you to pick baritone sax?

A: I started in middle school playing in band. I actually started on clarinet. I started out alto, but realized it wasn’t for me. I like that big, meaty low sound. There were all these different jazz players that I’d listened to, who played lots of bari, and I really enjoyed those, it kind of pushed me toward that.

Q: Any influences or artists that you really like?

A: Oof. I could go on forever. Dizzy Gillespie. Chet Baker is one of the biggest ones, especially now that I’ve switched to bass — I know he’s a trumpet player, but just listening to his music.

Q: And Chet Baker could both sing and play.

A: Exactly. Now in the jazz choir, I’m singing and playing bass, because we don’t have a bass player. So I’m doing the same thing.

Q: Do you have a favorite song, in band?

A: Orchestra-wise, the Nutcracker Suite, we played it during our winter set. I’ve always loved the Nutcracker. “Waltz of the Flowers” is probably my favorite song, all-time. And then marching-wise, “Everybody’s Everything.” The UW band plays it, and they always go crazy into it, and I love it, so we play it here, too. It reminds me of some people who used to be here, that I miss very much.

Q: Do you prefer being on the conducting side or the playing side?

A: That’s a hard one. I can appreciate both aspects. I love being able to help lead the band, and put it all together, and see all the smiling faces, and lead the music from the front. But at the same time I also love being part of the whole. I’ve played my whole life, so it’s kind of like being in my zone. It makes me feel at home.

Q: Do you listen to jazz outside of school?

A: I’ll listen to jazz, I’ll listen to classical, I listen to rap, some old school R&B, and even, like, some hardcore, kind of heavy metal stuff, too — I listen to just about everything you can think of. My music taste is always changing.

Q: And you’re an Eagle Scout? Or going to be an Eagle Scout?

A: Yeah, actually my ceremony is this weekend (Jan. 12).

Q: Can you tell me about your Eagle project?

A: I’m part of Troop 39. We meet up in Maltby, at this place called the Maltby Community Club. There’s this garden area in the back section of the plot of land. It used to be used for weddings, and it used to be this beautiful spot. But over the last few years it’s been just destroyed by weather. So I decided for my project we were going to completely redo it. Ripped out all the dirt. Ripped out an old broken arbor that was there. Ripped out all these plants. Realigned the little brick wall. Pressure-washed the whole thing. Built a stone path. Built a new arbor. Planted new plants. Filled the whole thing up with new dirt mulch. And it looks fantastic. I believe it took about three days.

Q: Have you figured out what you want to do in college?

A: If I end up going to UW, I’ll probably end up double-majoring in a bachelor of arts (and a degree in) either law or business. Not quite sure which one yet. And if I don’t go to UW, I’ll probably end up doing law or business, and forget the music part, and just keep it on my own time.

Q: Do your jazz groups outside of school have a name?

A: So the jazz combo that is still active goes by Kelsey and the Boys, because the piano player is named Kelsey. We’re currently looking for gigs, as well, so if this is publicity, we’ll take it. Our band director wouldn’t let us do Kelsey and the Big Men. So we went with (the Boys).

Q: Are you guys all big?

A: We’re pretty tall.

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; Twitter: @snocaleb.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A big decision for Boeing’s next CEO: Is it time for a new plane?

As Boeing faces increased competition from Airbus, the company is expected to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year.

A Mukilteo Speedway sign hangs at an intersection along the road in Mukilteo. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Mukilteo Speedway name change is off to a bumpy start

The city’s initial crack at renaming the main drag got over 1,500 responses. Most want to keep the name.

Two workers walk past a train following a press event at the Lynnwood City Center Link Station on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Trains up and running on Lynnwood Link — but no passengers quite yet

Officials held an event at the Lynnwood station announcing the start of “pre-revenue” service. Passengers still have to wait till August.

Nedra Vranish, left, and Karen Thordarson, right browse colorful glass flowers at Fuse4U during Sorticulture on Friday, June 7, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
A promenade through Everett’s popular Sorticulture garden festival

Check out a gallery of the festival’s first day.

Left to right, Everett Pride board members Ashley Turner, Bryce Laake, and Kevin Daniels pose for a photo at South Fork Bakery in Everett, Washington on Sunday, May 26, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Second Everett Pride aims for even bigger rainbow of festivities

Organizers estimated about 3,000 people attended the first block party in Everett. This year, they’re aiming for 10,000.

Dave Calhoun speaks during a 2017 interview in New York. (Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg)
Lawmakers to confront Boeing CEO on mounting quality and safety issues

Before the Tuesday hearing, a congressional subcommittee accused Boeing of mismanaging parts and cutting quality inspections.

School board members listen to public comment during a Marysville School Board meeting on Monday, June 3, 2024 in Marysville, Washington. Rinehardt is seated third from left. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Marysville school board president resigns amid turmoil

Wade Rinehardt’s resignation, announced at Monday’s school board meeting, continues a string of tumultuous news in the district.

The I-5, Highway 529 and the BNSF railroad bridges cross over Union Slough as the main roadways for north and southbound traffic between Everett and Marysville. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Highway 529 squeeze starts now between Everett, Marysville

Following a full closure for a night, starting late Sunday, Highway 529 will slim down to two lanes for months near the Snohomish River Bridge.

A BNSF train crosses Grove St/72nd St, NE in Marysville, Washington on March 17, 2022. Marysville recently got funding for design work for an overcrossing at the intersection. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
BNSF owes nearly $400M to Washington tribe, judge rules

A federal judge ruled last year that the railroad trespassed as it sent trains carrying crude oil through the Swinomish Reservation.

Everett Housing Authority is asking for city approval for its proposed development of 16 acres of land currently occupied by the vacant Baker Heights public housing development on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett inches closer to Park District affordable housing plan

Building heights — originally proposed at 15 stories tall — could be locked in with council approval in July.

Mountlake Terrace maintenance crew Ty Burns begins demolishing “the bunkers” on Monday, June 10, 2024 in Mountlake Terrace, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Eyesore no more: After decades, Mountlake Terrace bunkers bite the dust

The bunkers held a storehouse of history, much of it moldy, outdated and unwanted.

The intersection of Larch Way, Logan Road and Locust Way on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 in Alderwood Manor, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Roundabout project to shut down major Bothell intersection for months

The $4.5 million project will rebuild the four-way stop at Larch and Locust ways. The detour will stretch for miles.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.