“There’s freedom in music,” RVHS senior Cole Gewerth said, adding you can keep playing something over and over until it sounds the way you want it to.

It all started with a video game. For Cole Gewerth that start has led him to a passion as an instrumental and vocal musician, as well as a composer. “I was playing ‘Guitar Hero’ with my friend Jacob Angermeyr,” said the RVHS senior. “ As I kept playing I really got into it and found out I was pretty good.” That led Gewerth to a new challenge – playing a real guitar. “Jacob let me borrow his electric guitar, and I started playing it,” he said. “On and off I would play around.” As he progressed in his ability, Gewerth opted to take a few lessons from Kenny Hammerschmidt who taught him the chords he needed to know. Gewerth continued to play off and on learning different songs and gaining more skills. “I play whatever,” he said, adding he likes playing electric guitar, especially blues, rock and classic rock. Then Gewerth discovered the high school music department had obtained an electric guitar. He told Paul Berggren, the high school band director, he could play, and so he was able to join the RVHS jazz ensemble. “I started in jazz band and really got into it,” he said. That led to his decision to join the concert band for the first time as a junior and a member of the tuba section. While Gewerth enjoys playing tuba, his real interest continues to be guitar. “With guitar there are so many octaves,” he said, comparing it to playing piano. “You can play anything.” While Gewerth knows how to play the notes on a piece of paper, what he really enjoys is taking the music and improvising with it – creating additional mixes that come to him as he plays. For him playing guitar is a visual thing, because he is able to actually look at the notes and see the music. Gewerth said joining band one year ago and then joining choir has been a good opportunity for him to learn more about music. “I sing Bass Two in choir,” he said. “That’s as low as it gets.” For Gewerth it’s all about finding something he liked and doing it.

“There’s freedom in music,” he said, adding you can keep playing something over and over until it sounds the way you want it to. In addition to playing guitar and tuba and singing, Gewerth has recently ventured into music composition. “I wrote a piece for the band,” he said, adding there is a possibility the band could play it at the concert later this spring. “It’s a pretty traditional band song with pretty normal music structure.” Gewerth said he was able to take what was in his head and create the piece using a computer music program called “Finale.” In the future, Gewerth said he plans to keep playing and said he might try and find a band he can play with on the side.