Ben Pelandini: His Story of Music

Pelandini, a junior at Rogers High School, has been composing music since he was just 13 years old. He shares how this experience has been like.


Ben Pelandini, a junior at Rogers High School, is a musically inclined student. He’s a part of the Rogers Wind Ensemble.

Ben Pelandini’s daily routine is about as normal as the next person. He wakes up, throws a Pop-tart in the toaster, and cranks up the volume of his YouTube Music playlist as he unwillingly drives to school. Only, his playlist doesn’t consist of Her Loss by Drake, or Taylor’s Swift discography. Ben cruises down Meridian with the New York Philharmonic symphony on full blast, one hand on the wheel and the other hand conducting the symphony in his head. 

Pelandini has been involved with music all his life. And even though his parents were the ones who got him involved with music, Pelandini’s passion for it naturally came to be. He views the art of music on a deeper level than most people would.  

“Music is, I would say, the relationships of sounds that cause emotional responses in us,” he said. 

Mastering both the piano and clarinet, Pelandini has played for the University of Puget Sound Concert Band, the Pacific Lutheran University Concert Band, Rogers’ Wind Ensemble, Rogers’ Jazz Band, and Snoopy!!! The Musical’s pit orchestra since entering high school. 

“He’s a very special person, how he has the capability to be so musically gifted,” said Kirsten Kierum, a Rogers senior and Wind Ensemble member who is one of Pelandini’s peers. 

Already hearing music in every aspect of his life, Pelandini developed an interest in composing music. Or, in other words: creating it. 

Ben conducting the wind ensemble through "Sunrise"
Ben Pelandini conducts the Rogers Wind Ensemble through his composed song “Sunrise”

It didn’t matter that the average age for a music composer was 46 years old. Pelandini ventured into the art of composing when he was just 13. Starting off gently with minor compositions, his experience and knowledge of music grew, and during his sophomore year at Rogers High School, he was given the opportunity by Rogers band director, Stephen Pickard, to compose a piece of music for his band. 

“During sophomore year, Pickard was like, ‘I will let the band play your stuff,’ and I was like, okay, bet,” Pelandini said. 

The first piece Pelandini wrote for his band was named “Short Dance.” Expanding diversity within his music, he used a minor chord progression that originated from western Asian culture. This compelling song received great, prodigious responses.  

“It was very illustrative,” Kierum said. 

Emely Diaz, senior and Wind Ensemble member who is another of Pelandini’s peers, had similar thoughts. 

“It was just really musical, and I remember, over the summer, I would sometimes find myself humming the song by accident,” she said. 

Another piece of concert music that Pelandini created for his band was called “Sunrise.” One of the many special things about this piece is that it was performed by his band—and conducted by him–during the Rogers band’s final concert of the 2021-2022 school year. This performance, orchestrated entirely by a sophomore, was the debut of Pelandini’s career in composing. 

Experiencing this was huge for Pelandini. 

“It was very surreal,” he said. “But it was very cool, and it was my first time conducting something.” 

Even outside of the PAC, Pelandini’s music has made several appearances. As a junior so far in the 2022-2023 school year, he has composed five pieces of pep band music for the entire band program to play at football and basketball games. These songs include some commonly known pop music pieces, such as “Industry Baby” and “Hit Me Baby One More Time.”  

Bringing his music to the school football games was very significant to Pelandini.  

“It felt really good,” he said. “Pep band is a side of music that doesn’t usually get a lot of praise. And I thought the band did really well, and they improved over a really short period of time, especially the low brass, the trombones. So, it was cool.” 

Pelandini’s work has made an influence on how younger ages are perceived in the music industry. This left an impact on the students in his band, who found themselves inspired. 

“I think it’s cool, knowing that one of my peers can do this kind of stuff and not just a bunch of older people,” Kierum said. 

Said Diaz: “You usually see the adult having all the power. So, it’s really inspiring to see a student being incorporated into this.” 

But Pelandini hands this credit over to Pickard, constantly expressing his appreciation for him.  

“We have a really hard-working band director. He’s a really cool guy—really awesome. Pickard is my hero,” he said.

Pelandini constantly has his hands full. But even after performing in college-level symphonies, or spending hours composing a new piece of music, he still goes home with just as much longing as any other person would have. Only, instead of falling asleep to an 8D binaural ASMR video, Pelandini falls asleep with the New York Philharmonic symphony thrumming softly in the background.