When it comes to band, all are grand for Evergreen Park teen
BY CHERYL DANGEL BARTOLINI Correspondent February 15, 2013 5:02PM
Michael Lambton, who excels in everything to do with music, poses at Evergreen Park High School where he is a student in Evergreen Park, IL | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 19, 2013 6:03AM
To Michael Lambton, music is everything.
The Evergreen Park High School senior is in a number of bands: marching, concert, jazz, jazz combo, concert choir, Madrigals and the St. Xavier Honors Band.
He’s earned a number of distinctions from the Illinois Music Educators Association: making the District 1 choir three times; the District 1 Jazz Choir as a junior; the Jazz Band Second Band as a senior, and the All-State Honors Choir as a junior.
He also performed in the All-Conference Band for the South Suburban Conference.
Those are his credentials, but they don’t tell his entire story.
Lambton, 17, who plays the French horn, baritone sax and trumpet, started in band as a fifth grader, and his interest has only grown.
“My goal is to get into the Phantom Regiment Drum Corps,” he said.
The Loves Park-based Phantom Regiment is a youth organization dedicated to the development of self-esteem and self-reliance, according to its website. It encourages teamwork, sportsmanship, civic pride and contributions of one’s personal best to a group effort. The lessons are learned through a musical and marching activity in which there is a blending of the arts and athletics, the website says.
“I really want to do that, so if I can just push the extra mile, I can do it before I turn 21,” Lambton said.
His interest in singing started in middle school as well.
“I couldn’t sing guy parts, so I had to sing the girl parts,” he said, “then got my tonsils taken out, and two weeks later, my voice dropped down. I was the only guy and I had to carry all the guy parts. It was fun because it was just me.”
When he made the IMEA choir for the first time, it was a life-changing experience.
“It was one of the most beautiful things I ever heard. I didn’t realize it would be the best people from all the other schools so it was an honor to be one of those people,” he said.
“Once I made All-State, I realized, ‘If I can be here, why wouldn’t I want to try to get other people to come here?’ I wanted to help other people and teach them what I think is amazing.”
He wants to pursue a degree in music education so he can teach in high school.
At Evergreen Park High School, his instructor was Melanie Michalak, who retired last year but continues to give voice lessons in Tinley Park.
“She broadened my horizons and taught me things I never thought I’d know. I still take lessons from her,” Lambton said.
Whether he is singing or playing in band, Lambton says his interest in music is simple.
“It is a getaway from all the things in life,” he said. “It gives me a break from every day, because I’m not the best at school. English isn’t my strong suit, so this gives me something else to think about than writing a five-page essay or having to worry about reading a book for class.
“I can use it to help me with my difficult classes. It helps me concentrate and relieve stress.”
It must be working, because Lambton also is in the National Honor Society.
The son of Maria and Richard Lambton, of Evergreen Park, he also volunteers at the Beverly Arts Center and St. Bernadette Church in Evergreen Park.
Lambton also is a reporter for the school newspaper, and a member of the boys swim, cross country and track and field teams.
For college, he would like to attend Indiana University, because of its Jacobs School of Music; or Millikin University in Decatur, or North Central College in Naperville.
“I have such a busy schedule and I am a perfectionist, so I plan everything out,” he said. “What keeps me motivated is all those things I have to do in life. It helps me do it, so the more that I have planned the more I can get done and the more it benefits me in the long run.”