Between playing for the Winter Percussion team the Fall Marching band at , and doing sound engineering for theatrical performances at and all year round, 16-year-old Daniel Bria, who's a junior at the , has his plate quite full.
But that doesn't stop him from bringing home report cards that make his parents proud. Patch spoke with Bria recently to find out how he keeps it all in balance and what he plans he has for his future.
Patch: Hi Daniel! So you seem to be a busy guy when it comes to extracurricular activities. Can you tell me about them and what you like about each one?
Bria: I play the snare drum for the Westhill High School drum line. I have been playing drums for three years. I love music, which is the main reason why I continued my musical education with Westhill percussion. One thing I really enjoy about Westhill is that even though I don’t go there, I was accepted just as much as anyone else. I also play in the fall marching band and do winter percussion. Winter percussion is my favorite part of the band season.
During the school year I work with multiple schools on different types of productions doing sound engineering. Every year, I work with Scofield Magnet Middle School on their productions. I have been working with Scofield since the seventh grade. I also work with Northeast Elementary School
Patch: What recent activities and accomplishments are you most proud of and why?
Bria: Recently, the Westhill Winter Percussion Ensemble placed 16th in the world in our competitive class of scholastic marching A. That was in Dayton, Ohio at the WGI World Championships. I am proud of this accomplishment because it is my first year on snare drum and between Fall Marching Band and Winter Percussion, we've had a very successful season.
Over the past few years, I have worked with Sound Associates, a Broadway sound company that does many professional productions. The most recent ones I have helped them with over the last three years are the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Yonkers Riverfest and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. I help them unload the truck and hook up all of the equipment.
Patch: How do you balance schoolwork with all of the activities that you do? What tips would you give other students?
Bria: Time management is the key to maintaining a good GPA in high school. Organization is a huge help as well. If you are organized, then you can plan when you can fit homework and practice time in your schedule.
Patch: What do you like to do when you're just hanging out with friends? Do you have a few favorite hangout spots in Stamford?
Bria: With all of my activities I do not have a lot of free time, but when I do, I like to stay around my neighborhood and hang outside with my best friends and my girlfriend.
Patch: What are your favorite subjects in school and why?
Bria: My favorite subject in school usually is math, but this year, I would have to go with science. I am taking three science classes this year. I took Forensic Science the first semester and am taking UConn ECE Environmental Science the second semester. I have a full year of my next class. I take photonics, which is the study of lasers, lights and optics. In the class, we have made pinhole cameras, holograms and many other really interesting things.
Patch: What do you love most about going to AITE?
Bria: The first thing I really love about the school is the teacher-student relationship. All of the teachers become friendly and want to help you as much as they can which has really helped me excel in high school. And the second thing is the size. The size of my school is perfect for any student. The teachers and staff members know 99 percent of the kids. That is a strong reason why my high school is #1 in Fairfield County.
Patch: Do you have any specific plans for after high school? If so, what are they?
Bria: Well, after high school I plan on pursuing a career in sound engineering and, hopefully, working professionally on Broadway.
Patch: Who would you say is most influential in your life?
Bria: My parents have helped me down the stretch in school. They have helped me when I was stuck on assignments and projects. They have helped me get through late nights of complaining about all the work and practice I have. They have been the most helpful in my life overall.
When it comes to sound engineering, Dominic Sack is the reason why I want to continue this through my life. He helped my family with "High School Musical" at Scofield when I was in seventh grade and I have really loved sound engineering since then. Dominic works for Sound Associates and has had me come to work with him over the summer in the past.
Patch: What are some things you'll remember the most about your time in high school?
Bria: Aside from the success I have had with my teachers I would say my friends that I've made. I have my best friend in school with me. My best friend is Caitlin Schiller and I have been friends with her since seventh grade and she was in sixth grade. We have been the closest of friends ever since and have just become stronger friends [over time]. She is now currently my girlfriend and I am very happy that I have someone that I am best friends with in my life.