Caroline Duncan and Jordan Struthers share why they encourage other students to participate in fine arts
By Kristen Miller
DASSEL-COKATO, MN Having both been named Dassel-Cokato High School’s Fine Arts Students of the Year, Caroline Duncan and Jordan Struthers will continue showcasing their talents well beyond their senior years.
For Struthers, it’s all about the instruments.
Six years ago, he joined marching band and drumline and this year, Struthers was recognized for his hard work and dedication.
During the high school’s Fine Arts Showcase May 15, Struthers was not only given the title of Fine Arts Student of the Year, he was also named the drumline’s MVP in the battery.
Out of all the school activities Struthers participates in pep band, pit orchestra, symphonic and concert choir, drumline, and marching band his favorite has been drumline.
“It’s definitely the most challenging. It takes a lot of commitment and dedication,” Struthers said.
“It eventually becomes your life,” he added.
“And the peers make it fun. It’s like a family,” Struthers said.
This year’s drumline show, Aquarius, was one of his favorites because it was different than all the other performances they competed against.
“The music was difficult and the drill was professionally written, so it was challenging and entertaining,” he said.
Working so closely with music throughout his high school career has helped Struthers mature, as well as learn how to manage his time more efficiently, he said.
“It also helped me discover what I want to do in the future,” Struthers said. “It’s my passion.”
His plans include attending Southwest State University in Marshall, studying either music composition or piano performance.
Struthers’ love for the drums has shifted a bit to where he is really focusing on the piano.
“You can do a lot more with it. With drums, you can’t express your emotions as easily,” he said.
The piano allows for different styles of music, he said. “It’s really fun.”
As the drum major in the marching band, Struthers has gained a leadership role after years of commitment.
“It’s half teacher, half example,” Struthers said.
As he graduates, Struthers encourages others who are considering venturing into music to just go for it.
“Being a music nerd isn’t a bad thing,” he said. “If it’s something you like to do, don’t let friends or other people hold you back.”
Caroline Duncan is glad she took a chance and came out of her shell because being in the arts has helped her become a happier person and more accepting of others.
Duncan loves to sing and act, having enjoyed her high school career performing in musicals and participating in speech, choir, band, octet, chamber choir, and pit orchestra.
For Duncan, acting and singing in the musicals has been her favorite “hands down,” she said.
Duncan has performed in “Honk!,” “Little Me,” and “Little Women.” She is currently practicing for the community theater’s summer musical, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
What she has enjoyed most about being in musicals is seeing herself improve in each one by starting at the bottom and getting to the top as she learns her lines. It gives a feeling of accomplishment, she said.
The actors in the musicals Duncan has performed in also become like family to her.
Being in all the fine arts has taught Duncan to just let go of who she doesn’t want to be and be more of who she wants to be.
“It takes more courage to be a performer than it would to be alone. I used to be a Lone Ranger,” Duncan said.
“[Being in the arts] builds you up as a character and makes you memorable,” she said.
Duncan plans to attend St. Cloud State University to study vocal music and hopes to continue in musical performance in some way, as well.
“I’m a singer; it’s what I do,” she said.