Vandalia Leader

Follow Us On:

Winders prepares for state championship competition

Posted on Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 12:24 pm


Editor’s note: Trevor Winders will be competing for state championship in baritone saxophone at Hickman High School in Columbia, Mo., Dec. 7. For more information on the competiton, contact Zach Keller, Van-Far director of music, at

By Clay Coleman

Vandalia—I watch him as he walks across the gym floor. Wearing his saxophone on a lanyard around his neck, he slides into his seat as I introduce myself and ask to hear him play. He raises his sax in the air and starts playing the low tones of a jazz riff. The notes vibrations bounce off the walls of the empty gym. His music takes me somewhere else.
Trevor Winders is like any other 17-year old kid, wide-eyed and nervous towards the outside world. He rests his instrument on his knees as I go over what I know about him — vice president of Van-Far’s National Honor Society, Trevor’s a 4.0 student yearning to run away to college.
“I’m thinking about a career in Science at Washington University,” Trevor tells me. But before that happens, he is headed to State to compete for the very top in baritone saxophone. He’s bringing the town with him.
Born in Taiwan, Trevor grew up surrounded by its cultural influences. Living a life of study and practice, he became a natural playing music at an early age.
“I’ve been playing music for 12 years,” he says as I take his picture. Trevor started with the piano when he was five, then played the guitar until he joined the marching band out of middle school. Beginning with the alto saxophone, Trevor changed it up to the “bari” at the urging of his instructors.
“I used to practice for hours every day,” he says. “Now, it’s easier. I play for maybe 30 minutes, then move on to something else.”
Move on to something else. Sometimes it’s the youth who need to remind us of that. Remind us not to become stagnant in our ways. To reach into that toolbox and grab another when the one we are using doesn’t work anymore. Trevor tells me that no matter what, music will always be a part of his life.
I look forward to when life catches up to his music. At such a young age, Trevor has yet to experience those pitfalls and delights that haunt each of us. The heartbreak, the sorrow, the loss that we sometimes feel, is equaled to the joys and successes that define us. That’s the soul behind music.
When Miles Davis crafted the seminal jazz album, “Kind of Blue,” drummer Jimmy Cobb accidentally crashed the cymbal at the start of the first song on the album, “So What.” That’s all it took, and it changed everything.