Senior Highlight: High-caliber drummer plans little for future

Kevin Killeen

“He could be on the level of some of the best drummers in New York right now,” said Jazz Band Director Kevin Cole about senior Joseph Winnstein-Hibbs.

Winstein-Hibbs has been drumming ever since he was 10, and the number of achievements and rewards he’s made behind the drum set have outnumbered most other high school student drummers in the region.

“He’s proved himself to be the best high school drummer in the Mid West for 2010,” said senior Sam Fruend, who plays bass in the Jazz Combo with Winstein-Hibbs. “He’s the hardest working musician that I know.”
Having a high-caliber drummer such as Winnstein-Hibbs, has seemed to be an advantage for Cole and all of the band members he plays with.

“He makes everybody better because he makes everything so easy,” said Cole. “He’s got great hands.”

Winstein-Hibbs has been a four-year wind symphony member and a three-year Jazz I member. At the All-State level, he has been a member of the jazz and concert bands his sophomore and junior year. He did not try out his senior year because he “wanted to give some other people a turn at it,” Winnstein-Hibbs said.

Winnstein-Hibbs has also been a part of the Bistro Band, and the Webster Groves Drum Line and Jazz Combo. He was also a grammy finalist, and he has played with many professional musicians around St. Louis, like Syd Roduay, Adam Maness, Nick Joste and Matt Villinger.

“He’s been able to play with some outstanding artists,” said Cole.

“I’ve gotten to play around St. Louis with a few professional musicians,” said Winnstein-Hibbs. “That’s taught me a lot of stuff that can’t really be taught in class or at school.”

“If he were a football player, he’d be a parade All-American and he’d have his pick at some of the best schools in the country. Musically, that’s his equivalent,” said Cole. “I think he would be a welcomed addition to any music school in the country.” However, Winstein-Hibbs seems to have different plans after high school.

“I don’t want to go to school for music because I wasn’t impressed by some of the college level classes,” said Winstein-Hibbs. “I think it would be more worth my time to get a degree where i’m learning life skills… I’m planning to get a degree in sociology.”

“I think he could be a top call recording and gigging drummer in New York, if that’s what he wants,” said Cole. “I know he could be successful and earn a living doing it.”

Although it seems drumming is something Cole thinks he could pursue professionally, Winstein-Hibbs said, “I don’t know about it as a career (drumming). I kind of feel like there’s a bigger picture as of to why I’m here. I’m trying to develop this thing where I can help people in some way and having that background in sociology will help.”

Another main reason why Winstein-Hibbs has maybe chosen not to pursue drums professionally is because of his current drum teacher, Steve Davis.

“He’s more than just a drum teacher,” said Winstein-Hibbs said about Davis. “He’s a mentor, and he’s shown me what else I can accomplish in other aspects of life.”

Whether it is sociology, or drums that Winstein-Hibbs chooses to follow after high school, Cole seems to be optimistic about the matter.

“I’m proud of him. He’s got the perfect combo of talent,, desire and diligence to become a musician,” Cole said. “Whatever it is he decides to do, in the end, I just want him to enjoy what he’s doing.”

Leave a Reply