Mead High School is about to lose its own version of the Music Man: Nick Kar.
He plays seven instruments but focuses on saxophone and clarinet.
“I joined band in seventh grade and played the trombone,” Kar said. “It was one of the best decisions I ever made! I guess I had a bit of natural talent because I’ve had a lot of success with it.”
Kar has been part of every instrumental program at Mead: jazz, pop and concert bands, and marching band. He got a taste of being a drum major in middle school and set his sights on landing that position in high school.
He succeeded and has been a drum major for the last two years. The position combines two things he has a flair for – music and leadership.
“When the director is absent, I lead ensembles and rehearsals,” he said. “I developed a passion for it. Teaching has helped me understand what makes music, music.”
In addition to understanding the music, a drum major has to be someone people will follow.
Counselor Melanie Fender saw that ability in Kar.
“What I like about Nick is that he’s so inclusive of everyone. So many adults have said he’s kind,” Fender said. “It makes him a great natural leader who is well-respected by his peers.”
He earned that respect by intentionally getting to know his fellow band members.
“I wanted to be that senior who welcomed others in – to say hi to the freshman,” he said. “My goal was to learn the names of everyone in the marching band and color guard (70-80 people) by the first week.
“I wanted to make sure they felt like they mattered and weren’t just another person on the field.”
Band director Rob Lewis appreciates his student’s effort.
“He’s a talented, bright young man who genuinely cares for the welfare of those around him and the success of the entire group both on and off the stage,” he said.
Music also led Kar to his first job at Clearwater Music.
“I fix instruments and teach lessons,” he said. “I really enjoy it. It’s a job and a hobby.”
But his gifts go beyond music.
“It’s important to mention his contributions to our school and community academically and socially,” said Lewis. “Nick is a member of our National Honor Society, is an AP Scholar and has maintained a 4.0 GPA.”
Not easy to do when your schedule includes seven AP classes and four honors/advanced classes.
“Math is my strong suit,” Kar said. “I’ve always loved it. English has more than one right answer. I like the order and conceptual aspects of math.”
He’s enjoyed being part of the yearbook staff, as well.
“I did the marching band page among others,” he said. “I wanted to be a voice for performing arts.”
When he’s not working, studying, or playing music, Kar volunteers with Habitat for Humanity.
“I started last summer for my volunteer hours for the National Honor Society,” he said.
His parents joined him and they worked on homes in Deer Park. Kar enjoyed it so much that he’s still volunteering.
“It’s cool being part of something everybody’s working on together and seeing the finished house,” he said.
This fall he will attend Whitworth University and plans to major in mathematics education and minor or double major in music.
Kar’s kindness and leadership will be missed at Mead.
“I can’t say enough about this incredible young man,” Lewis said. “He completely embodies our Mead High School crest of mind, heart and spirit.”