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  • Alex Kirsch

Senior Spotlight: Joseph Lim

Joseph Lim is a multi-talented, incredibly musical member of the Class of ‘23. His musical career began in first grade, when piano lessons sparked his love for the instrument and music. Fast forward to fourth grade: Joseph says he was interested in playing percussion for the Greenville band. However, Mr. Brandon (the former Greenville band teacher) asked him to consider playing the trombone instead. Joseph agreed, and Mr. Brandon’s simple suggestion ended up creating an outstanding high school trombonist. In addition to his impressive trombone and piano skills, Joseph is an amazing arranger and composer.

Joseph currently participates as a trombonist in EHS’s Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, and Jazz Ensemble. He also plays piano for the Chamber Choir and attends the Music Advancement Program on Saturdays. In the Spring, he plans on playing in the pit orchestra for the school musical. In past years, Joseph has been the trombonist and an arranger for the EHS Studio Band.

In terms of composing, Joseph started by transcribing songs that he liked (translating songs into sheet music). He would sample different parts and styles of songs he enjoyed and incorporate them into his own music. He jokingly says that while some people might call this “stealing” or “taking directly from the source material,” he prefers to think of it as “respectful homages.” Over time, Joseph continued to write music and try different genres. He eventually secured a composition teacher for himself and kept practicing different techniques to apply to his music.

“At Center Stage” is a piece Joseph composed for a competition. Before submitting it, he showed the piece to Mr. Cataliato, the former band teacher, for feedback. Mr. C loved “At Center Stage” so much that he had the Jazz Ensemble play and record it. “Bass ‘Bone Ballad” is another work of Joseph's that Mr. C had the Jazz Ensemble play (initially, it was supposed to be performed in the spring concert, but there was not enough time for the ensemble to polish it).

Joseph has won competitions hosted by NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association), NJF (National Jazz Festival — though he says it’s more regional than the name suggests), and NAfME (National Association for Music Education). It’s clear there are more accomplishments to come in his future!

When it comes to inspiration, Joseph’s favorite artists vary in genre and sound. At the moment, he is listening to a lot of Brazilian guitarist Joao Gilberto. He also enjoys Oscar Peterson, Randy Newman, Corrine Bailey Rae, Gordin Goodwin, Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, and of course, The Beatles. Some of these artists appeal to Joseph because they are jazz and jazz-influenced musicians, but he believes each one’s sound is unique, and he takes something different from each.

Outside of music, Joseph’s interests include learning about technology and playing story-driven and horror games. A fan of musical theater (a “guilty pleasure”, he calls it), he is especially fond of shows like The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Book of Mormon, The Producers, Into the Woods, Avenue Q, and one of his all-time favorites, Wicked. A fun fact about Joseph is that he likes animals of many kinds, including fish, small and fluffy mammals, birds, and reptiles. The only animals he dislikes are certain insects (“the ones that are universally disliked,” he elaborates. “You know which ones.”).

Joseph’s musical talent and composing capabilities are essential parts of EHS’s music scene. He is in too many ensembles and bands to count, and he plays an important role in all of them. And when it comes to arranging his own pieces, Joseph is in a league of his own; the multiple competitions he has won constitutes ample proof.

As far as what his future holds, Joseph is thinking about becoming an audio engineer, and possibly pursuing arranging as a side gig. He also may start learning how to play the bass, an instrument he is interested in. No matter what, as a high school senior, Joseph’s accomplishments and talents deserve attention.

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