The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


Every Day

Senior Julian Jones works toward being appreciated for his music
Ashley Broils
Playing the cello, senior Julian Jones performs at the Black History Month Assembly Feb. 6 in the Main Gym. Jones was playing Saint-Saens Cello Conterto no. 1. “I found it rewarding afterwards that I was able to play pieces on that degree of difficulty in front of about 300+ people,” Jones said. “I was extremely grateful that doing that helped people recognize my talent.” Photo by Ashley Broils

Senior Julian Jones glanced around the low lit auditorium, his breathing heavy. 

Dr. Jeffrey Bishop’s footsteps echoed as he took the stage. 

Jones tried not to think of the other middle schools watching, or the chaperones or his parents. So he stared straight ahead, picked up his bow and the rest was a blur. 

Jones’ first “real” concert was in the 8th grade. 

He picked up the cello in junior high.

He’s the youngest of four.

His oldest brother, Vincent Jones, attended the University of Pennsylvania, aspires to teach at an elementary school and plays the saxophone.

His older sister, Paige Jones, attended Wellesley College, studied abroad in Japan, and plays the viola. 

His older brother, Spencer, attends Stanford, plays basketball on a Division-1 scholarship and played the trumpet.

Not only is music a prominent pastime in Jones’ family, but academic, athletic and career success are as well. 

“I think my family has a good reputation,” Jones said. 

When he isn’t getting quizzed in AP Gov., reading a novel by Toni Morrison or learning Spanish conjugations, his mind is on music.

Whether it’s the written rules of music theory, the symphony, R&B, or “4 Your Eyez Only,” by Jay Cole; which Jones listens to around “five times a day.”

As a senior, his thoughts are also based around college more often than not. East or West Coast? Student loans or scholarships? Campus or school size? That is, when he isn’t rehearsing.

Jones tries to set aside 30 minutes to one hour twice a week to practice the cello. His mother, Lisa Jones, who is also the counseling secretary makes sure of it.

“I just talk to him,” Lisa said. “I try to encourage him and say ‘look how good you are, I mean you’re so much better than you were two years ago.’ Sometimes he puts a little pressure on himself, and I just say ‘be the best you can be.’”

Concert after concert, audition after audition, performance scholarship after performance scholarship, Jones has worked hard in establishing an identity of his own in hopes of one day changing the way people see music. 

“People overlook the concept of music, especially orchestra,” Jones said. “I want to make it seem like cello isn’t just classical. It can be rock, jazz and pop. I don’t want people to think that it’s boring.”

He’s gained inspiration from his brother Vincent, who still graduated despite the pandemic. He’s gained motivation from his friend, senior Wolfgang Sell, who never fails to admire his work ethic. And he’s gained love and encouragement from his mom, who makes the best comfort meals from mac and cheese to gumbo.

“He’s probably one of my best friends,” Sell said. “We’ve known each other for a long time and we’ve gotten closer and closer over the years through such means as orchestra, pit orchestra, music theory and that sort of thing. He’s just genuinely a good dude and he’s gonna study music, which is very inspiring.”

The stress of performing, college applications and NHS meetings can be a lot for Jones. But every day he continues to work hard and arrive at school before 7:00 a.m..

Every day he continues to volunteer, complete study guides and prepare for socratic seminars.

Every day he continues to rewatch past concerts and learn from his mistakes.

“Don’t be intimidated by other cellists,” Jones said. “You may think you’re working hard, but someone is always working harder. And don’t let others put you down, because I was put down a lot in middle school by my peers.”

Jones understands family expectations all too well, especially since being scolded for not making districts last year. He knows pressure, what it’s like to be the youngest and the struggle to be noticed for something other than a last name.

“I don’t wanna be seen as the little brother of a D1 athlete,” Jones said. “Or the little brother getting his PhD in math. I want people to recognize me, for my music.”

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About the Contributors
Sofia Ball
Sofia Ball, Writer
Hi! My name is Sofia Ball and I am a writer for the Northwest Passage. Writing started out as a hobby for me. Something I never imagined I would be good at until about 7th grade after taking a creative writing class with Dr. Van Zant. I just started out as a freshman, and already, I've come to know and love many of the classes, teachers and students here at Northwest. I’d like to think of myself as an extrovert, but most of my freetime is spent either reading, writing or watching Netflix in my bedroom. I used to watch The Office all the time before it got removed. The only time you'll ever see me out and about is probably at Cross Country or Track practice. You may even see me handing out our latest newspaper issues around the school.
Ashley Broils
Ashley Broils, Assistant Newspaper Photo Editor
Hi, my name is Ashley Broils and I am an Assistant Newspaper Photo Editor. I am a junior and this is my third year of photojournalism. My job is to help the newspaper photo editors with checking captions of photos and picking photos for the newspaper. When taking photos, I really enjoy being close to the action. I have two brothers, Justin and Alex, who are both in middle school. I also have a dog named Anna who is one year old and loves to play fetch with me. My favorite destination is Puerto Rico. I vacationed there this summer.

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