WVCSD Artist of the Week: Alex Pack

Warwick: This senior is known for his skillful guitar and euphonium playing.

| 07 Jun 2024 | 02:29

Warwick Valley High School band teacher Megan Shafer will miss senior musician Alex Pack, a gifted guitar and euphonium player, who she said has been a tremendous asset to the WVHS music program.

“Alex has played euphonium in our wind ensemble and our marching band, and has been the guitarist in our jazz band for the past three years,” said Shafer. “He’s always smiling and willing to help out, especially when it comes to helping out the younger players pick up on rhythms and notes.”

Guitar came first for Pack, whose parents got him started early.

“I’ve been playing the guitar since I was four years old,” said Pack. “It was my parents enrolling me into a music group for little kids. Then, when I got to pick another instrument [for school] in third grade, I chose the euphonium.”

Pack has stuck with both ever since. He studies guitar independently with Jeff Ciampa, a local jazz musician, who has influenced Pack’s jazz playing. His hard work on both instruments has led to multiple OCMEA All-County selections, NYSSMA competitions, and performances with the Hudson Valley Honors Band.

While Pack is proud of his music accomplishments in school and enjoys playing in WVHS and regional ensembles, his main musical love for the past three years has been his band outside of school, Huge Cowbell.

“It’s a band I started with one of the kids, a drummer, who I met here in band,” said Pack. “Huge Cowbell had five members — two guitars, drums, bass, and a singer — and we played a variety of music, from Led Zeppelin all the way up to stuff from the 2000s.”

Pack and his Huge Cowbell bandmates played lots of street fairs, rock shows at the community center in Warwick, and summer shows at the beach in Greenwood Lake that were organized by the Rock Underground. Pack said that his band would often surprise audiences, who didn’t seem to expect such rock mastery from such young players.

“There’d be a few bands and a couple hundred people,” said Pack. “At first, we were just, like, wowed that people even actually came out to hear us, but then that kept growing when people realized we could actually play!”

When three of the members of Huge Cowbell headed off to college, the band all but... well... disbanded. Pack will be on that same path soon. He was accepted to the University of Miami on a scholarship for the fall, and has already chosen a major that pairs up two of his favorite academic subjects.

“Yeah, math and Spanish,” Alex said. “I like Spanish a lot, and I think I’ve always been business-minded. I mean, I like stocks, I like money, so I’m planning on studying accounting.”

To make sure he hits the ground running when he gets to Miami, Pack has been staying busy and sharp during his senior year, carrying a class schedule that included college calculus, AP language, AP bio, and AP government. He’s also been serving as the president of the SADD Club.

Right now, Pack is looking forward to graduation and spending some summer time with friends, before he packs things up for Miami. He said that even though he isn’t going to study music, music will always be something he pursues recreationally. He’s looking forward to taking in everything Miami has to offer.

“I’m just really excited to get started,” Pack said. “Besides it being super nice down there, they have two things that I really love, great music, obviously, and great sports teams.”