Let’s Kick Some Brass

Senior Discusses Passion for Music, Academics, Future at Vanderbilt


Photo by Tristan Hernandez

Lifting his trombone in the air, senior Collin Borenstein plays “Metalshop” at the Homecoming game against Cedar Ridge Sept. 8. Borenstein served as the brass section leader for the band this year. “It was a lot of fun,” Borenstein said. “We had a year of COVID-19 and there was no work and no socialization. Everyone got back in 2021 and people could have chosen not to buy in or to talk with each other, but everyone wanted to buy in and everyone was willing to put in a lot of work.”

The lights coming from the ceiling of the Alamodome are blinding. Adrenaline is high as the seniors prepare to compete for their last time at state. Senior Collin Borenstein hears the drum majors count off and begins to play his trombone, ready to win.

Borenstein served as the drill instructor for the brass section of the band this year, as well as a bus leader and uniform rack leader. He is also ranked ninth in the 2022 graduating class.

“It was a lot of fun,” Borenstein said. “We had a year of COVID-19 and there was no work and no socialization. Everyone got back in 2021 and people could have chosen not to buy in or to talk with each other, but everyone wanted to buy in and everyone was willing to put in a lot of work. It was fun to put in all the effort and now it is being reciprocated by 200 plus members.”

Borenstein played trombone in the band since sixth grade, and won state championships with them twice his sophomore and senior years.

“It was crazy,” Borenstein said. “Obviously it’s hard to win state and it’s hard to win back-to-back or back-to-back-to-back, and I won state as a sophomore which is really lucky, but we worked just as hard and the results went our way. It was a great experience.”

Borenstein also competed in individual instrument competitions such as Texas Music Educators Association, TMEA, where he won all-area band and Cedar Park Young Artists Contest, or CPYAC, a school contest.

“[TMEA] takes a lot of effort and you have to overcome a lot of nerves and that was really tough for me, but it was very cool this last year,” Borenstein said. “CPYAC is where everyone prepares their own solos within the school and we compete against each other, and this year was the second time I made semi-finals and I’m really happy about that.”

Borenstein said he hopes to continue to play music in college.

“I plan on continuing music into college,” Borenstein said. “Music is the way I express myself and maybe it won’t be trombone, I picked up piano and banjo, as well as other instruments just because it’s a way for me to feel and to move on from it. So whether it is ensemble work, band, marching band, wherever I’m going, it will be fun.”

In addition to band, Borenstein also participated in Young Men’s Service League since his sophomore year. YMSL is a mother and son service organization.

“It’s an organization where young men and their mothers have a bunch of community service opportunities with each other, and it’s a lot of meetings,” Borenstein said. “They teach about all sorts of things just aimed at developing life-leadership skills, whether it’s learning to iron a shirt or learning how to lead a group of people in a volunteer activity.”

The club meets monthly and hosts service opportunities like building ramps for those in wheelchairs. 

“One of my most favorite YMSL memories was we had an opportunity called Texas Ramp Project where we built ramps in the driveway of a disabled person’s home who wasn’t able to get in and out of his house, and it was really cool being able to help him,” Borenstein said.

Borenstein is a National Merit Finalist and in National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta, the math honor society. He won the mathematics department award at the senior awards ceremony.

“I’m in Mu Alpha Theta, I got to join as a freshman because I’m in double pace which was really fun,” Borenstein said. “I’m a math nerd, so it was fun getting to be a part of that early on.”

Borenstein will attend Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, in the fall.

“At first [I applied] because my dad’s an engineer, I grew up thinking I wanted to be an engineer too, so I was mainly looking at local engineering schools like UT and A&M, and I looked into Rice too,” Borenstein said. “My mom wanted me to look into Vanderbilt because she has a friend in Nashville and she wanted to see her, so I went up to Vanderbilt and I saw their research institution and it completely changed my perspective.” 

Borenstein said he plans on studying biomedical engineering.

“I’m majoring in biomedical engineering just because the math and the biology combined is really enjoyable to me,” Borenstein said. “I really enjoyed biology this year and I’m excited to pursue it next year. I really wanted to learn and to help people at the same time and I thought medical research is a really cool way to do that.”

While Borenstein will leave the Timberwolves band, he plans on playing in Vanderbilt’s marching band or in the stand band for basketball games.

“I will most likely march [at Vanderbilt],” Borenstein said. “It was very therapeutic [marching as a senior], and it was a lot of work. Being able to go through all seven years of the band, and then to win state and be able to look back and be so happy with it, is just a really proud experience. I’m glad that it happened and I’m very fortunate.”