Musician and mentor, 1AD Band member gives back
By Sgt. Kelsey L. Miller, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division Public Affairs:
(El Paso, Texas, Mar. 9, 2017) Many people spend a good portion of their lives trying to figure out what it is they want to accomplish within their lifetime. For some people it comes easy. For others, it is about trial and error, discovering likes and dislikes, making mistakes and finding enjoyment in the little things. Spc. Ryan M. Columbare, a trumpet and bugle player assigned to the 1st Armored Division Band here, discovered his calling in life very early on.
“I started playing when I was 10 years old in my middle school band program,” Columbare said. “It quickly grew on me, and I started to really enjoy it.”
Throughout his younger years, he tried several avenues such as baseball, basketball and football. After trying, he knew that music was his passion, and it set him apart from others.
“I originally wanted to play the drums,” Columbare said. “So I took drum lessons for a couple of years. I’m not sure why, but my dad tried to steer me away from the drums. I picked up the trumpet, and it just felt natural. It fit my personality.”
Once out of middle school, Columbare began private lessons on the trumpet.
“I couldn’t see myself going a day without playing,” he said. “I decided I wanted to do it professionally.”
Following high school, Columbare attended Ohio State University, in Columbus, Ohio, and earned a bachelor’s degree in music education and a bachelor’s degree in music performance. Graduate school followed, where he earned a master’s degree in trumpet performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Columbare joined the Army as an enlisted Soldier in 2014 to carry out his dream of playing in an Army band, and is working toward his ultimate goal of playing with the U.S. Army Band, in Washington DC.
“I came in enlisted because I wanted to play music,” he said. “It has always been my dream to play in the military. I have always felt a sense of patriotism when I pick up the trumpet. One thing that attracted me to the military is getting to do several different things. I am a musician, as well as a Soldier.”
Throughout his time at Fort Bliss, Columbare has participated in numerous change of command ceremonies, various celebrations and concerts, funerals and memorials. Columbare also gives his time in the El Paso community.
Recently, Columbare collaborated with the University of Texas at El Paso music department for a community outreach project. Feb. 15 through 17.
Nancy Taylor, one of Columbare’s mentors, is a trumpet professor at UTEP. She asked him to come to her class for a week and share his talent and expertise with her students, to which he readily agreed.
“I want to help the students grow as musicians and help them meet their goals,” Columbare said. “I will listen to them play and point out their deficiencies so they can play better. I remember when I was just starting out. It inspires me to continue to grow as a player.”
During his week-long visit to UTEP, Columbare worked individually with trumpet students, and with the trumpet class as a whole. He spent time mentoring students and teaching them skills.
“I think the lessons were very productive,” said Genesis Lopez, a trumpet student at UTEP. “I learned a lot, especially about focusing on the little details when it comes to my trumpet playing. I think it’s better to work with different people at different times so you don’t get stuck in the same routine.”
Columbare continues to share his talents with the community while tackling a busy schedule with the 1st AD Band.
“If you ever have the opportunity to get out and see the 1st Armored Division Band perform, you should do it,” he said. “Everybody here is really talented and gives a lot, and puts a lot into what they do. There is so much good going on here.”
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