“Fostering a love for music”: Ben Veilleux becomes new band director for Gering

Adam Flowers, Staff Reporter

 After previous Gering band director Randy Raines retired from teaching, there were big shoes that needed to be filled. Luckily, the program now has a new music teacher that enjoys what he does. Ben Veilleux, a graduate from Hastings College, taught previously at Hastings St. Cecilia in Hastings, NE.

  “What I love about [the Gering band program] is the students,” said Veilleux. “The students come to work, they have a good attitude, they’re excited to be in band and they have a lot of dedication.” Veilleux also enjoys being in a larger program as well as the positive role of band in the community.

  He came to Gering to create a step-up program to focus on music as well as the location to be much closer to his family.

  Over the summer, Veilleux played trumpet in the City Band, as well as assisting in Summer Band. He teaches High School band, High School jazz band, Freshman band, Music Appreciation for eighth-grade students, as well as assisting with seventh-grade choir and teaching beginning sixth-grade band.

  “I’m trying to keep a lot of the same warm-ups and same philosophies as best as I could. Obviously, there’s just going to be a lot of rehearsal differences and personality differences. We’ve changed up how we marched and made it a little more contemporary as far as what the bands across the state are doing.”

  A new challenge that has faced him is teaching within a bigger program.

  “It’s a good challenge, but we’re at a point where a lot of my ‘toolbox’ ideas, or things that you use to work with your groups, I’m running out of those. We’re playing the songs really well, there’s little, tiny tweaks, but when you’re used to teaching a certain band of a certain size and then you go to a bigger group that solves all of those problems inherently, then you don’t have to work on those things, so figuring out what the next level is is a bit of a challenge.”

  He overall loves music and being a music teacher.

  “Teaching presents unique challenges daily, sometimes it’s the same problem over and over again, but nine times out of ten, the kids you’re working with come in with different things going on in their lives. It’s interesting to work with them on that level. My favorite part about teaching is being able to say you’re creating something with the students.”

  He enjoys teaching High School band as well as jazz band.

  “I love teaching the Freshman too, but concert band and jazz band are my two passion areas.”

  Veilleux looks forward to shaping his bands in the future. The biggest thing he worries about is proficiency on the students’ instruments.

  “With these groups, it seems like we can work on a lot of next level things. Music is a team activity just as much as other extracurriculars. I just want to try to foster a love for music.”