Devin Wessels: I got the music in me

Tap. Tap tap tap. Tappity tap tappity tap. To senior Devin Wessels, these are not just random noises but the start of something he loves. Music is Wessels’ passion and ever since he was a kid he has been listening and making music. Today Wessels is involved in many musical groups and continues to pursue new musical experiences for enjoyment and learning purposes.

Senior Wessels has been intrigued in music ever since he listened to it as a kid. Over the years Wessels has consistently kept his interest in music alive by picking up new instruments and trying new things related to music. Wessels now plays many different instruments, the major ones being piano, bass, drums and guitar. He is also now involved in many musical groups such as the school orchestra, jazz band, choir and St. Croix Jazz Quintet. Wessels is now even expanding his musical reach by making a solo album all on his own. All this leads to the fact that Wessels has a breadth of music interests and talent that is unique to the school and greater community.

Wessels has been interested in music since he was a little kid. Growing up, he developed this interest largely on his own, as his family was only moderately interested in music. This interest was spurred simply by the sound of music, which made him want to listen to it daily. This music fascination would be the foundation for his musical journey.

Wessels explained, “I always loved music. Since growing up I’d listen to music all the time. I had a little portable CD player that I took with me everywhere but I never actually started playing till 2nd or 3rd grade. I think I started playing piano. And ever since then I’ve been picking up new instruments and trying new things.”

As Wessels continued to try new instruments he also broadened his musical experiences by becoming apart of many musical groups. In school, Wessels is in the orchestra, jazz band, choir, Vagabonds and theatre. This variety makes Wessels a well-rounded musician, and allows him to try new instruments and musical styles while having fun.

“Devin is a really versatile musician and I can tell he’s got the talent to go a lot of different ways in music and can pick up on things quickly,” said orchestra teacher Zach Sawyer.

Wessels is also involved in many musical groups outside of school such as jazz combos, a trio with other SAHS students called Freddy Fresh and the Aspen Trio and the St. Croix Jazz Quintet. In these groups Wessels is not confined to specific parameters, which allows him to experiment with music by simply getting down and playing.

Senior Clay Knoll, and member of Freddy Fresh and the Aspen Trio, said, “Our trio is a lot of fun. We don’t ever really rehearse, we just kinda got to a point where we just show up and play. And it works.”

Wessels also makes time to further his musicianship as a solo artist. During that time, Wessels’ musical curiosity results in new musical experiences. Currently one of those experiences is making a solo album, which he started over the summer and hopes to finish this winter. Everything involved in the process of the album is being done by Wessels and already this process has forced him to learn new things.

“I have learned a lot doing this album. Especially just how much work it takes. The album has a lot of variety too with it being largely funk and soul, with elements of hip-hop and a strong jazz influence. This has made me really look at the style of music in each song, but yet also how to keep it fun at the same time,” said Wessels.

Many of the musical groups and experiences Wessels has been involved in have had the result of producing music. Much of this music he makes is heard by a variety of audiences. For all of them, from parents to teachers, friends, and even strangers, Wessels has shared what he likes about music and the effect it has on them.

Wessels said, “Compliments from parents and friends are great, but I really like it when a stranger comes up to me and compliments me or when I can make them smile because of my music. That’s when I know I did a good job.”

Throughout his life Wessels has surrounded his life with music, either by listening to it or making it himself. As a senior though he faces the blatant fact that high school will end and along with that the many musical groups he is in that are affiliated with the school. As a response to this, Wessels is now looking towards studies in liberal arts colleges where he can focus on the power that words hold, which in a song is everything. Whether Wessels chooses to take that specific path or perhaps another musical route, with all his previous experiences and talent he should be able to pursue his true passion, music.

“I would say there’s not much probably that’s going to hold him back,” said Sawyer.