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GV Alumni Spotlight - Cole Nikas (2019 graduate)

Where are you now?

I am a junior undergraduate student at Wake Forest University and a tuba, trombone, and euphonium player. The university is in the ACC, meaning our marching band gets many opportunities for publicity and performance. Over the past two years, our band has travelled to Yankee stadium in NYC for the Pinstripe Bowl, played in “Death Valley” at Clemson University (the 2019 defending national champions) and we were even featured on ESPN’s College Gameday in our home opener! This past year I was named the visual captain of the band. I am pursuing a music minor at Wake Forest and play in the wind ensemble, orchestra, and jazz ensemble. I also started a brass quintet with 4 of my friends two years ago. I am a brother of the Kappa Zeta chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, the national band service fraternity and was recently elected Vice President of Service.

How is music a part of your post high school life?

Music is my passion, and it provides me with so many opportunities at my university. I have met my closest friends through the band and orchestra, and continue to find new opportunities to grow as a musician and as a person. I am grateful for my time in Great Valley for pushing me to be a hard-working musician. I owe it all to Mr. Ceresini, Mr. Cohen, Mr. Search, Ms. Vogel, Mr. Shafer, Mrs. Byrne and all my other music teachers for helping me develop as a player and as a person.

What is your fondest musical memory from Great Valley?

My fondest memory is without a doubt the time I, alongside four other Great Valley musicians, marched in the 2019 Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA. It was the experience of a lifetime and something I will never take for granted. It was an honor and a privilege to represent GV in this nationally televised event my senior year, and I learned so much about parade-style marching.

Do you have any advice for current middle and high school students as they look to the future?

(This can either be related to high school or life after).

My advice to current middle and high school students is to stick with it! There will be days that you want to skip rehearsal, ignore practicing or quit altogether, but I have never met anyone who regrets staying involved in music. Having musical experience is such a valuable tool you have, and by quitting, you give it up. Playing an instrument has given me my life’s trajectory. It got me into a great school, gave me my best friends, and has defined my character.

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