Published DateLACONIA — Katherina Beliveau was dead-set on attending the University of Alabama, so she could fulfill her dream of playing in halftime shows for a football team playing in the mighty Southeastern Conference (SEC). However, her parents insisted that she broaden her search.
"My parents were like, you have to apply to more than just 'Bama," she said.
As a member of the marching band, concert band, jazz band and pep band, as well as a couple of local community bands, the Laocnia High School senior is far more concerned with what happens during the half-time show than the events that precede or follow. So, she searched YouTube for college marching bands in the SEC, and one performance cut her search short.
"I was so blown away, every section had their choreography, the music was awesome. I said, I don't know what school this is, but I have to go here."
The performance, as it turned out, was by the marching band for Louisiana State University — "The Golden Band From Tiger Land".
"Ever since then, I've been focused on LSU," she said. And it helped that LSU offers a journalism program, which is Beliveau's chosen major field of study.
Music is something that Beliveau has always "tinkered with," she said, but only recently did she start taking the pursuit seriously.
Though now a Laconian, Beliveau spent her first years in Mannheim, Germany, the product of a native German mother and an American father stationed abroad while serving in the U.S. armed forces. In 2006, her family moved to Laconia.
Beliveau speaks German fluently and has dual citizenship.
Though she's only been in Laconia for about seven years, she's made the most of that time. "I don't like sitting around and doing nothing. I just keep myself busy."
At a local nursing home, she's volunteered 2,500 hours. She's worked at the ice cream stand that was operated in the Laconia Antique Center. She performs in dramatic productions at the high school, recently playing the female lead role in "Oliver". This summer, she'll spend her time washing boats at Channel Marine and selling merchandise at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook. Someone who keeps herself informed of world events, Beliveau occasionally sketches political cartoons, a couple of which have been published on The Daily Sun's letters to the editor page.
Yet, amid all the above activities, and her schoolwork, Beliveau also found the time to teach herself to play two instruments, in order to be a part of the LHS marching band. Her parents first tried to dissuade her, arguing that she didn't know how to play any instruments featured in marching bands. But, after cajoling and pleading through her freshman year, her parents relented. Over the course of a summer, she solved the puzzle of the clarinet. However, after a year of playing, she decided that the woodwind was to demure for her tastes, that she wanted something with more substance. When a graduating senior left a hole in the band that no-one else would fill, Beliveau found the right instrument to fit her voice.
In a way, her family has prophesized, at least in jest, her musical destiny. "It was always kind of a joke in my family: 'Why don't you just play the tuba?'" One day in the spring of 2011, she brought home the huge brass instrument. The outgoing tubist showed her enough to make a sound on the instrument, and she took it from there. She exclaimed, "It's the biggest darn thing in the band!"
She's been playing tuba for less than two years but has managed to amass a great deal of experience with her instrument. She, for example, is the first tuba player in the Laconia High School jazz band, which requires her to transpose all of her sheet music to fit her range.
That experience paid off a few months ago, when she e-mailed a video audition to the LSU band director. When she called to confirm its receipt, the receptionist told her to wait a week for a reply, instead the director, Roy King, rang her back within 10 minutes to welcome her to band camp this summer, where she'll work to earn the honor of wearing gold and purple, the Tigers' colors. "I'm super excited," she said.
Due to her citizenship status, she could have attended a German university for no charge. However, she said, "I'm a band geek," and universities in Germany don't have marching bands. She'll still get a bargain on her tuition, though, because she's planning to enroll in both the reserve officers' training corps and the Louisiana National Guard.
Although a passion for her, she plans to treat music as a hobby rather than a professional pursuit. Instead, she's got her eye on journalism. She loves to write — she was twice a state finalist in the Constitution Day Essay Contest — and thinks she's make a good news anchor.
Whatever it is she does, it's fair to expect she'll approach it with more of a tuba's punch rather than a clarinet's whisper. "I just want to be productive, and do things that people will see," she said. "I want to be known."
CAPTION for KATHARINA
Katharina Beliveau, a senior at Laconia High School, will be attending Louisiana State University in the fall, a school she chose specifically so she could play in its marching band. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Adam Drapcho)