Father Ryan senior Ben Strobel has been selected by the Winter Guard International (WGI) as one of the initial 12 members of the international music organization’s inaugural Future Leaders Program.
WGI, which is the world’s premier organization producing indoor color guard, percussion, and winds competitions, created the Future Leaders Program to provide new mentorship and leadership opportunities for WGI performers across all regions and divisions across the nation. The program will add 12 members a year for three years to reach its maximum size. Strobel is the program’s youngest member, its only high-schooler, and the only representative from the Winds category.
“Ben has been an outstanding musician and an outstanding leader for the entire band program at Father Ryan,” according to Jereme Frey, director of bands at Father Ryan. “He has a thirst for music, which has resulted in him learning every wind instrument we have at Father Ryan, and he is a valued mentor and friend to all the band community. This national program is a recognition of his talent and his initiative, and we are excited to see how he will continue to have an impact on music throughout his career.”
According to the announcement from WGI and its Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Future Leaders will have the opportunity for individual mentorship with the WGI Board of Directors in areas relating to the future leadership of WGI. This includes organizational leadership, public service, artistic development, instruction, and judging. They will also learn about the programs, protections, and education WGI has to offer and how to take this opportunity to become a leader in the pageantry arts. Future Leaders will serve as a bridge between WGI, its Board of Directors, and the Performing Membership of WGI. Members will act as a conduit for their peers in bringing ideas, issues, and questions to the leadership of WGI and engage in direct discussions on building future policies.
Strobel plays multiple instruments and is a section leader for Father Ryan’s Marching Band and the Winter Guard. He was selected as a member of the 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade All-American Band and will perform with the group in the 2021 Parade. He plans to pursue a degree in music education in college.
Strobel is a member of the Purple Masque Players and Science Olympiad, and a Minister of Holy Communion. In addition, he is a member of the National Honor Society.
“The Future Leaders Program is a promise to all current and future generations of performers that their voice will continue to have value and power in shaping our activity,” says WGI President Ed Devlin. “We look forward to engaging in a more direct, open dialogue at the performer level, while providing them with the tools and resources to help strengthen their leadership skills within the indoor marching arts.”
Throughout the duration of their membership, each Future Leader will collaborate on an annual project, working with other members to collaboratively brainstorm, create, market, fundraise (if needed), and execute a grassroots project for the WGI community with guidance, mentorship, direction, and other resources facilitated by the Board of Directors.
More information about Father Ryan and its programs is available at fatherryan.org.