Meridian student is enthusiastic musician, talented baker

Not only has Hannah Miller carried on a formidable family tradition by playing the saxophone: She also inherited a well-used instrument.

“It kind of runs in my family,” said Miller, a Meridian Early College High School senior who plays both alto saxophone and baritone saxophone. “My grandpa John Miller, my dad Donovan Miller, and my aunt Valarie Johnston all played sax. My brother Jonathan Miller played it at Meridian High School and Junior High.

“Our saxophone was passed down until it broke,” Miller noted. “Four or five people used that alto sax.”

Miller took up the alto sax in fifth grade and added the bari sax to her repertoire early in high school. She marches with the alto and plays the bari in concert band.

“Marching band is my absolute favorite (part of band),” Miller enthused. “Everyone goofs off, we have a lot of fun, and it’s a good bonding experience.
With the music we play, just being loud and being outside and moving to the beat, it’s pretty awesome.”

Meridian band director Matt Shephard said Miller inspires her fellow musicians with her fun-loving spirit.

“I cannot think of a more down-to-earth, easy-going, yet driven leader than Hannah,” Shephard said. “Her leadership within the saxophone section during our marching season brought a unique energy that encouraged others to step out of their comfort zone and take chances. This encouragement to make the band experience fun brought a contagious energy to the rest of the band.”

In fact, Miller has had so much fun in high school band that she looks forward to returning as a Meridian graduate to play some more.

“I’m pretty sure Mr. Shephard’s going to have some opportunities for (this year’s seniors to come back and play) next year,” she said. “I’m going to come back for those opportunities.”

Miller’s love for making music is equaled perhaps only by her love for conceiving culinary creations.

“I am planning on becoming a baker and opening my own bakery,” explained Miller, who got a good foundation in the art of baking at Bay Arenac Career Center as a junior and since then has worked at Robaire’s Bakery in Mount Pleasant and Enjoy Bakery in Midland.

She has even opened her own bakery at home, and has been accepted at the Culinary Institute of Michigan in Port Huron.

“There aren’t many high school students as well rounded as Hannah,” Shephard said. “Her talents extend beyond the music classroom as she also is a phenomenal baker and (cake) decorator. I have appreciated both her musical gifts to our program as well as her culinary talents. As much as I’ll miss her delicious treats, her presence within our band will be missed even more.”

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