Jordon Nield had his heart set on the saxophone, but there weren’t any left when he signed up for sixth-grade band.
There was one lonely instrument left to choose from, a trombone. So, the trombone it was.
“I kind of fell in love with it,” said the senior from Timberlake High School in Spirit Lake, Idaho.
Nield isn’t from a musical family, but has grown to love band more than just about anything. His passion for playing trombone has sparked a new interest – conducting – and has him contemplating a career as a music teacher.
Music has also served as a constant for Nield the past two years as his mother battled leukemia.
While she’s spent months in Seattle for bone marrow transplants and cancer treatments, Nield has put his family first, taking a break from his own hobbies and activities to help at home. His selflessness hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“With everything that our family has been going through, he stepped up at home and helped with the younger siblings,” said his mother, Katie Nield, whose cancer is now in remission. “He’s a good kid. We’re going to miss him when he leaves this summer.”
Katie Nield is expected home in time for graduation, but soon after her son is leaving on a two-year mission trip through the Mormon church. Once he returns, he plans to study at Brigham Young University-Idaho and has his sights set on becoming a music teacher and conductor.
He was inspired by Timberlake music teacher Tim Wood, who has taught Nield since junior high. In addition to being a teaching assistant for Wood’s junior high students, Nield is band president and a student conductor.
“It doesn’t seem like it would be that hard just waving your hands, but there’s a lot more to it,” Nield said. “You have to have a really good ear so you can hear how to fix different sections and rhythms.”
Wood said Nield shows outstanding leadership ability.
When scheduling conflicts arise and Wood is unable to attend performances, Nield steps in for his teacher.
“He does what needs to be done,” Wood said. “He works to the limits of his ability with everything he does. His people skills and his ability to prioritize what has to happen and to get it done are marvelous.”
Despite the adversity his family has faced, Nield has remained positive. He looks on the bright side: The time he has spent giving his younger brothers rides to Scouts and sports and other activities has brought the siblings closer.
“I feel like that’s my purpose,” he said.
Katie Nield is proud of her son.
“He’s a very good big brother,” she said. “I think he’s a great kid who has kind of flown under the radar, but everybody loves him and everybody looks up to him. He has friends wherever he goes.”
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