With help from the Cadenheads and Ignagnis, the Oberlin Phoenix Marching Band is a family affair.
Twins Tan and Ty Cadenhead are trumpet players. Triplets Blaise, Noelle and Vincenzo Ignagni play the trombone, French horn, and alto saxophone respectively while brother Nickolas plays sousaphone.
The Cadenheads, both seniors, and Ignagnis, all freshmen, said they joined the band due to their love of music. All have been playing instruments since they were young children and try help and motivate each other.
“It’s more of a competition, almost a friendly rivalry to see who’s better,” Tam Cadenhead said of his musical relationship with his brother.
Band director Len Gnizak, hired in 2004, said he’s directed lots of twins but this is his first band to have both twins and triplets. He said the band is tight-knit and the Cadenheads and Ignagnni’s are “families within the family.”
As seniors, the Cadenheads take a leadership role instructing their younger bandmates, which is part of Gnizak’s collaborative leadership style. Tam Cadenhead is a field captain helping run the band for Gnizak. Ty Cadenhead is a drill captain responsible for keeping band members in step and playing in sync.
The Cadenheads say they appreciate Gnizak’s approach and younger band members often respond better to instructions from upperclassmen than adults. “It also gives the juniors and seniors a way to learn leadership and teach the younger people,” Ty Cadenhead said.
The Cadenheads’ experience has helped them with breath control, which is essential for playing while marching. They said playing in the band has made them better musicians.
While the Cadenheads were both in marching band in middle school, Vicenzo Ignagni was the only member of his family with middle school band experience. His siblings played in orchestra in middle school.
Nickolas, who is less than a year older than his brothers and sisters, said he switched from violin to the sousaphone because he didn’t like playing high notes. He said he also enjoys the precision involved in marching bands.
Peggy Ignagni said she got her children involved with the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music’s MusicPlay program when they were just three years old. The program introduces children to music through composed songs, folk songs, and nursery rhymes.
“If you have kids growing up in Oberlin, you’d be ridiculous not to take advantage of the conservatory,” said Peggy Ignagni, who is volunteering as band treasurer this year. “We live in this town that has this culture of musicality.”
Ignagni said she hopes at least one of her children pursues music after high school. She thinks Nickolas — who plays bass guitar, mandolin, violin, and the viola in addition to the sousaphone — has the talent and temperament to teach music.
“Nick has a really kind soul,” she said. “That’s a really beautiful thing in a teacher.”
Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @GoodenowNews on Twitter.
Evan Goodenow | Oberlin News-Tribune The Oberlin Phoenix Marching Band this year includes triplets (and their brother) as well as twins. Pictured are Blaise, Noelle, Nickolas, and Vincenzo Ignagni and Ty and Tam Cadenhead.