Music is a tool for us to express ourselves and that statement holds true for one Mandan High School senior.
Bryce Bennett was formally diagnosed with autism at the age of five, but that has never stopped him from pursing one of his many passions: music.
Bryce’s mother Kathi Bennett says, “He was considered high functioning autism, which means he’s got some quirks but he does pretty well.”
School hasn’t always been the easiest for Bryce,
“All the social stuff sometimes is really hard,” Kathi tells KX News.
But then, he found his rythym.
Bryce’s Marching Band Director Rebecca Warren says, “Bryce is a very special young man and he has gifts and talents that other students may not have.”
You see Bryce was born with a gift.
“I started music since I was 3,” says Bryce Bennett.
But it wasn’t until the 6th grade, he found his time to shine in the Mandan Band.
Kathi says,”It gave him a reason to come to school. A place to start and exist with everyone else. It gave him a peer group that he could identify with.”
“I just compose different music and making new and different music and so on and so forth,” Bryce tells KX.
He could sing before he could even talk and when he did start talking he always seemed to make an impression.
“He’s a riot and he’s known to being able to kind of say exactly the right thing at the right time,” says Kathi. “We call those “Brycisms” and they just make you laugh.”
Warren says, “He will be the first one to tell you that the big drum is my drum.
It’s his natural gift of music that makes him stand out and he doesn’t play around when it comes to it.
“When I start new music I can memorize it pretty good,” says Bryce.
“He can read through it once and he has it memorized,” Warren adds.
“He could sing melody and you could sing harmony when he was about 3 or 4,” says Kathi.
“If he ever makes a mistake which is very rare,” says Warren. “But if he ever makes a mistake he will call himself out– and go ‘Bryce you missed that.’ And he will go back and fix it and never make that mistake again.”
“They were just a hair off and Bryce kept saying ‘nope, sing the right note’ and that substitute would not take that note and finally Bryce got mad at her and said to ‘please stop singing’ and he got kicked out of class.”
His determination has won him numerous awards and even the PRIDE award when he was only in 6th grade. His talent has touched the lives of so many in the community.
“Bryce had a timpani solo and he nailed it and nailed it on all four drums and I looked over as tears were streaming down my face and tears were also streaming down his mothers face because we knew this was his place this was his joyful place, this was his happy place,” Warren tells KX.
Kathi adds, “It’s incredible I never thought we would be here… I never thought we would get to senior year and now its senior year and he’s going to graduate with his peers and go on to do great things.”
“I just love marching band in general,” says Bryce.
Although he loves music, Bryce wants to do something with science and space after he graduates but of course will still be playing music on the side.
Warren also adds Mandan Public Schools do an amazing job to make sure all their students are welcomed into their music programs.