McNary High School Logo - Link to Home Page

McNary bassoon player: Reese Johnston

By Kelsey Jarnagin
March 1, 2023

There are only two Bassoonists at McNary high school who are playing their way into college with one of the most sought for instruments in a band.

Reese Johnston, who is a junior this year, is one of the people who play this wide ranging instrument at McNary. She has been playing the bassoon for four years now starting with the clarinet first. 

“I like the deeper reed sound and it's one of the instruments that offers a lot for college, so I can play an instrument that sounds cool and gives me a lot,” Johnston said. 

She has been in band since the seventh grade making a switch from clarinet to the bassoon in just one year. Johnston got into the bassoon not just from her band director, but also from one of her favorite shows: the Office. 

“I was really into the Office and the guy who played Dwight came out with a book called the bassoon king, and I was like ‘that's a weird instrument’,” Johnston said.

While she and Aiden Doyal are the only bassoon players in the school, they have a lot of time to make jokes with each other, since they always have the same rest during songs. They also play very well together, a considerably impressive thing since this is Johnston's first year at McNary. 

Johnston gets a lot of practice and playing time with the amount of bands she participates in around Oregon. She practices multiple times a week in class and outside of class in her bassoon private lesson classes.

“I’m in two school groups, then I'm in Salem Youth Symphony, and every here and there I have an extra thing I have to play for,” Johnston said.  

She plays in the most advanced bands at McNary, Symphonic and Symphony—Symphony being her favorite getting to have strings and wind instruments all in one band together. Johnston had played at her other high school in Silverton where they didn’t ever have string instruments, so it was a great surprise for her when she came to McNary.