Music impacted their lives, now they’re hoping to inspire others

Viera High School head drum major Nicole Kloner, left, and band captain Loanne Masson have been friends since their freshman year and are now getting a chance to lead and inspire others, something they have both always wanted to do.

 

They’ve been friends since their freshman year at Viera High School, and it’s easy to see why.

Nicole Kloner and Loanne Masson don’t just share a love of music. The two seniors want the Viera marching band to become the best possible version of itself, and to help as many of their classmates as they can along the way.

“I’ve wanted head drum major since I came into band,” Kloner said. “My head drum major my freshman year was Hannah Bedard. I saw the head drum major as such a positive role model, and I wanted to do that for other people.

“I just wanted to be that person that people come to. It’s an amazing experience. It gives you so many leadership skills that I’ll use further on in life. And it’s really fun.”

Masson, Viera High’s band captain, moved to Florida from Texas where music is taught at an early age and students are encouraged to take part in the band.

“That’s where I’ve made most of my friends through high school,” she said. “The closest people in my life right now are in band and we see each other every day.

“It’s an amazing sensation to have such a close-knit group of friends. It’s like family, almost, where it doesn’t matter if you like someone in the band … if someone’s going to say something mean about them, you’re going to stand up for them. It’s a very nice environment to be around.

“And we spend a lot of time with each other. With football games and competitions and rehearsals, I spend more of my time here than I do at home most of

the time.”

The two friends, who met during a freshman history class, have certainly had their share of success at Viera. Kloner, who plays the flute, has been named All-State in each of the past two years. Masson, an oboe player who learned to play clarinet for the marching band, was named all-state last year.

“Both Loanne and Nicole are some of the best students we will have come through our classrooms,” Nick Eggen, Viera High’s director of Instrumental Music, wrote in an email.

“My favorite part of being a band and orchestra teacher is that I get to see students learn and grow over the course of four years, and having gotten to be a part of that growth has been an honor.”

Maria Dix, Viera’s associate director of Instrumental Music, added: “Loanne and Nicole are very gifted musicians and it’s been a great experience to follow their growth through the past four years. I can’t wait to see and hear of the musical experiences that lay ahead of them.” 

Kloner, the face of Viera’s marching band, moved to Florida from Connecticut in seventh grade and has been involved with the band for eight years. 

“When I moved here, my music life changed drastically,” she said. “I came from Kennedy Middle School with Mr. (Michael) Sperr. He was the most amazing teacher I could ever ask for. He changed my life and the same with (Eggen and Dix). When I came to high school, it changed again —  even better.

“This band is like a family. It’s been a critical part of my adolescent years. I don’t know what I would have done without it. I’d be a completely different person.”

Being among the band’s leadership group — there are 10 students overall — has been especially challenging given that last year’s incoming freshman class didn’t get to perform because of COVID-19. And with another new set of students coming in, the group has had to work hard to learn the routine — which it has done.

“The first thing they tell you when you get this job is that you can make this position whatever you want it to be,” Masson said. “There are no set rules of your job. You get to decide what a band captain is.

“I’ve had fun deciding what I think a band captain should do and should be and how I want to represent this band and help everyone. I’ve made it one of my goals to include as many people in (creating a) positive atmosphere so everyone is included.

“Especially this year, with all the freshmen … they don’t know what band is about yet. They don’t understand how much fun it is. All they see is the hard work because we haven’t had that many games. It’s important that they make friends and they feel like this is worth it in the end.”

The past four years have certainly been worth it for Masson and Kloner. And from their standpoint, hopefully, they’ve made being part of the Viera marching band more fun for everyone.

“It’s always been about making this place as good as we can,” Masson said.