Playing Marimba is More Than a Pastime for senior Noah Hickey


Gabe Aguirre, Guest Writer

Greendale High School has a handful of talented musicians, and one of them is marimba player senior Noah Hickey.  Since his freshman year Hickey has been a part of the marching band in the pit section, which includes percussion instruments like marimba, vibraphone, cymbals, and piano.

Hickey first got into percussion because he was interested in joining drumline, but when he auditioned he was rejected by them and was put in the pit.  He started out by playing vibraphone freshman year and would practice every day after school until he worked his way up to marimba.

He continues to work hard at it every day. “During a normal year I would’ve come in probably at least half an hour to an hour after school most days. During this year it’s been harder obviously because as of right now I don’t have one in my home, but I normally try and come in half an hour to an hour after school,” he said.

The pandemic has left Hickey with very little opportunity to play his marimba since the band season was put on a halt for a while and he wasn’t able to have access to a marimba as easily.  But to show his dedication, when the pandemic first started he actually pushed his marimba from school through the village of Greendale to his home so he would still be able to practice occasionally.  

Hickey attributes his success to the competition between him and  his friend senior Claudia Maxson.  They have been friends since they first met in pit freshman year, and their friendly competition has made both of them very good musicians.  

“I think there was always a lot of competition within myself and Claudia because we would both come in often,” he said.  “I think that probably helped me practice more than I maybe would have.” 

Hickey has done solo ensemble and advanced to state where he won the Exemplary Performer for his room.  He has also been recognized multiple times by his band teacher, Tom Reifenberg, for his talent and all he’s done in the marching band.

In the marching band Hickey was the section leader of the pit and every year he would help the incoming freshmen, who had little to no experience in percussion, improve their skill set and get them more comfortable playing their instrument.  It would be hard sometimes because they would get frustrated or not have the motivation to practice, but Hickey still made sure to help them as much as he could.  “I think that the best that I can do is to give them the skill set to learn to enjoy it on their own.  I don’t think I can force them to like it,” he said. 

In the fall Hickey will attend Loyola University and is planning on either double majoring or getting a minor in percussion.  Because Loyola doesn’t have a marching band he won’t be able to be a part of that, but he still wants to continue playing the marimba.