Music and munching

Junior showcases their talents to peers


Jenna Reynolds

Sitting on the cement outside, junior Chloe Brandenburg strums a song on the ukulele as they sing along with the music. Brandenburg has recently taken up the hobby of playing the ukulele again and shares their music during lunch. “It makes me feel really happy when people listen to me at lunch,” Chloe Brandenburg said. “I am very good at trashing on myself, so it’s a welcome change.”

Jenna Reynolds, Features Editor

Some exhibit their talents by hanging their artwork in hallways, singing at concerts or selling their sewing pieces, but for junior Chloe Brandenburg, they perform their ukulele in front of peers during second lunch.

Chloe Brandenburg has owned their ukulele since they were 7 years old and used to take lessons, but eventually gave up. This past June, they picked it up again to rediscover their passion. Chloe Brandenburg wanted to learn and write their own music so the ukulele seemed like a perfect place to begin. They started out practicing again with YouTube tutorials, and through their grandfather’s help. 

“I wanted to play at lunch since I usually only sit with my step-brother at lunch,” Chloe Brandenburg said. “It gave me something productive and calming to focus on. I play every day that I am at school. Sometimes I have third lunch instead of second, but if I could, I would play during all three lunches.”

Chloe Brandenburg transferred from Millard South this year after moving into a new house.It was easier for their step-siblings and their biological siblings to all be in the same school.  Transferring schools in the middle of a pandemic has been an adjustment, but they have been able to fall back on their music. 

“I was extremely nervous,” Chloe Brandenburg said. “I’m a very shy and anxious person. I’m also the new kid, so I felt that if people didn’t know me, they wouldn’t criticize me as much.” 

When Chloe Brandenburg plays, many students stop to listen or find out where the music is coming from. For many, this is not a normal occurrence. Students crowd around Chloe Brandenburg as they play familiar songs. 

“When Chloe plays their ukulele they bring music to everyone’s ears and hearts,” sophomore Megan Delanie said. “I haven’t known Chloe that long, but each time they play, they show the world a part of them that only comes out while they play and sing. It takes a lot of guts to be able to perform in front of others, even if it’s just for fun.”

Chloe Brandenburg usually plays whatever song they are addicted to at the moment, but they will take requests at lunch, too. They really like playing “Cavetown” by Melanie Martinez or “My Chemical Romance.” They also cover songs on their YouTube Channel “Saren Media”.

“It makes me feel really happy when people listen to me at lunch,” Chloe Brandenburg said. “I am very good at trashing on myself, so it’s a welcome change.”

Friends and peers and family support Chloe Brandenburg.

“I believe that when a person plays a musical instrument and people are entertained and you can see that they are enjoying the music, it builds their self confidence,” their grandpa, Mark Brandenburg said. “They realize they can not only entertain and make people feel good, but then they realize that they can do something that not everybody can.”

Chloe Brandenburg has taught themself how to play from countless tutorials on YouTube and hours of practice during the week. 

“It makes me very proud that Chloe found the ukulele again,” mother, Michelle Brandenburg said. “They are very smart and talented, I am amazed daily how much they have taught themself.”

As of right now Chloe Brandenburg’s ukulele playing is more of a hobby, but they would love to turn it into a career possibly in the future. They want to eventually get to the point where they can write and play their own music.