Looks Bright: Siblings share love of clarinet

Published 11:13 am Saturday, September 10, 2016

LAPLACE — Krista and Eric Zar are typical teenage siblings.

While it’s obvious they have a strong bond with one another, they also occasionally tease, pick on and maybe even fight with one another.

“We’re kind of in the middle,” Krista said when asked if they get along all the time or fight.

One thing they don’t argue about is their love of music.

Krista, 15, and Eric, 13, are members of the band at Emily C. Watkins Elementary School, under the direction of Howard Gauley. In a rather rare twist, both play the clarinet.

Teacher Howard Gauley poses with Eric and Krista Zar at Emily C. Watkins Elementary School. (Lori Lyons/L’OBSERVATEUR)

Teacher Howard Gauley poses with Eric and Krista Zar at Emily C. Watkins Elementary School. (Lori Lyons/L’OBSERVATEUR)

It was Krista who got the music started when she mentioned to her dad she wanted an instrument and wanted to join the band.

“I told my dad I wanted to play the flute at first, so we were going to go look for a flute,” Krista said. “Then I found out that the flute was kind of hard, and my dad found me a clarinet at one of the thrift shops.”

When she told the band instructor her dad had bought her a clarinet of her own, Gauley insisted that she had to join the band. Students with their own instruments are a rarity, he said.

“We have five,” he said, noting a local resident recently stepped up to donate an instrument to budding ECW trumpet player Pilar Martinez, who recently was featured in L’OBSERVATEUR.

As for how Eric got his clarinet, it was a case of sibling rivalry.

“I saw that Krista got hers and I wanted one,” Eric said. “Then I joined band and found out that I loved being in band.”

Eric said he did try the saxophone at one time, but it wasn’t a great fit.

“Too many buttons,” Krista quipped.

Actually, Eric said, the saxophone just didn’t suit his small stature.

“The saxophone is kind of big and I’m kind of small,” he said. “I plan on playing some pretty cool songs on this and using all of these buttons when I grow up.”

Among Eric’s favorite tunes is the Christmas carol, “Up on the House Top,” while Krista really enjoyed learning Katy Perry’s “Roar.”

Gauley, who oversees approximately 40 students in his band, said Krista and Eric are special.

“These two are some of my leaders,” he said. “In a band like mine, which relies on a pullout schedule, needing students to know where they need to be and being there, these two are always on time and always have a positive attitude. They are really big contributors to the band in a positive way. When I need some examples of people who do the right thing to show some of the younger people how to do things the right way, the way they need to behave and what their work ethic should look like, I point to these two quite a bit.”

Krista is content to play in the concert band on stage, something she thought was really cool when she was younger.

“My mom calls it my hobby because, if I’m bored, you’ll either find me in my tree or you’ll find me with my instrument,” Krista said. “If we have a family gathering, I’ll bring my clarinet and I’ll play songs that we’re supposed to be practicing. People will be, like, ‘Krista, you’re getting really good.’ Band is one of the things I was actually good at in sixth grade and I grew attached to it. I feel like, in band, playing an instrument is kind of — me.”

Eric, meanwhile, enjoys getting together with his buddies who play instruments and entertains thoughts of forming a band someday.

“I just really like music,” Eric said. “My friend Tyler is teaching me to play guitar and I might play the xylophone. That looks cool. I’m just going to keep practicing while I’m in school and, once I get out of school, I’ll see what I might be able to do with it. I might get together with my friends — and Krista.”