Greg Pohl’s nimble fingers effortlessly maneuver from one combination of strings on his bass guitar to another, hitting every note as he keeps pace with the rest of the Barton Jazz Band. With a confident smirk, he leans into his guitar for a few notes as the song’s speed increases.
His expertise with sting-bass instruments has benefited Barton’s music program for nearly three years now, but soon his talent will be on display on a larger scale. Pohl will be the only community college student to perform as part of the inaugural Kansas Intercollegiate Orchestra on Feb. 24 in Wichita.
"That’s a really big honor," Pohl said. I’m really grateful to have this opportunity to go play with the group."
Pohl started his musical career in sixth grade, though he didn’t know it would be his life’s ambition until he was nearly finished with high school.
"There was nothing else I wanted to do," he said. "I just love how big and low the instruments are and the way bass sounds."
Only 55 people will perform in the orchestra, representing numerous colleges including Kansas State University, University of Kansas, Emporia State University, Baker University and more. The group will perform for the Kansas Music Educators Association during its annual conference. For future conferences, the KIO will alternate years with the Kansas Intercollegiate Band.
Pohl’s instructor and mentor Steve Lueth praised Pohl’s achievements and participation in Barton extracurricular activities.
"Greg is a very talented player," he said. "Barton’s music department fits him well because he’s from Great Bend, and he wanted to solidify his music theory before moving on to a larger university."
Pohl plans to continue his music education at Fort Hays State University. After graduation, he hopes to perform with a symphony in a larger city, teach and eventually conduct.