Music, Dreams, and Coming of Age in the Heartland


Brent Lehman followed his father and older brother in playing the trombone. During concert season, he even played on the very same instrument, a Conn 88H symphonic model with a rose-brass bell, one of the last trombones made in Elkhart before the company moved. In his final marching season, Brent was the lone senior in the 18-member trombone section



brent lehman
first trombone

“While the others talked, Brent Lehman piled up sand under his championship ring. When his turn came, he patted the ground around the display. ‘Last year, the climax of the year wasn’t state.’ He couldn’t bring himself to tell the others the shame he’d felt along with the pride in winning. He knew he’d acted badly in the band, without really knowing how not to. Despite the values of tolerance and nonviolence in his Mennonite faith, he’d developed the habit of responding to frustration with anger. But as a senior trying to do things differently, he had two things working against him. He had to overcome his history in the band. And he had to overcome the ways in which his isolation kept him from connecting to those around him. In the circle, he said only, with an extra pat on the ground for emphasis, ‘My climax for this year will be the chance to touch people’s lives.