Andrew Teel, 18, lives with his dad, David. He plays the clarinet in the Lake Fenton High School Marching Band and practices and performs on the accordion. After graduation, he will attend the University of Michigan-Flint, then continue on for a master’s degree in music education. He plans to be a high school music teacher and hopes to continue playing the accordion in concerts or performances.
What do you like best about playing in the Lake Fenton High School Marching Band?
I like getting people hyped with music during football games. My favorite genre of music is a split between polkas and classic rock hits. I also like jazz.
How did you get started playing the accordion?
Every year, my family would travel to Frankenmuth for Thanksgiving dinner and they would always have an accordion player there. After several years of having the pleasure to listen to it, I asked for an accordion for my birthday. After that, I made sure to practice every day and I quickly fell in love with the squeezebox. I recently got a $300 scholarship for playing the accordion from the Flint Institute of Music.
What do you like best about the accordion?
It’s the physical movement of pushing the bellows; you can really exaggerate tone and power in your music by how hard you squeeze the instrument. I also love the unique “musette” sound of an accordion, which reminds me of a violin or bassoon. I actually own seven accordions and pick them up at pawn shops. I collect them and can use them for spare parts.
Where do you perform?
I get to perform at the Flint Farmers Market and in a performance group for the St. Cecilia Society at the Flint Institute of Performing Arts.
What do you think is the biggest issue/problem facing high school students today?
I feel the biggest problem is bullying, which makes people feel like they are shunned or being treated like an outcast. I try to get to know people who don’t have a lot of friends because I struggled with being in a friend group in the past.
What is your favorite subject in school?
I really love band but I also really enjoy my AP English class. I never realized how deep of meanings you can pull up from a 300-year-old letter. The class helps you infer and pull harder to find meaning in literature. You also get the chance to read classics like “Lord of the Flies.”
How will you spend this Thanksgiving holiday?
We’ll be going to Zehnder’s in Frankenmuth. A tradition that my cousins, Julia, William and I would always do is combine a bunch of gross condiments, seasonings and drinks and chicken bones into one cup and dare each other to take a sip. It’s really gross but one of the funniest traditions we have at Thanksgiving.
What is one more thing you’d like to accomplish in high school?
I want to be involved in a sport, so I signed up for bowling because it interests me and is the least physically demanding. Before high school, I was involved in wrestling and the swim team, but later quit for my passion for music.