Roman Tatalovich is 14 years old and will be a freshman at Marietta High School this fall.
He is a member of the Wall of Sound school band at MHS and has achieved the Life Rank in the Boy Scouts of America with Troop 207. This is the second highest rank which scouts can be given.
“I just love band and I love scouts,” Tatalovich said. “I pretty much live and breathe band and scouts.”
Tatalovich pours almost all of his time into both, where his abundance of talent, wisdom, and adaptability are put to use.
Tatalovich has been in scouts since he was 7, and has climbed to the second highest position a scout can reach. He’s attended multiple camps, has MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction) training which teaches individuals how to integrate and apply mindfulness into their daily lives, has been assigned as a Senior Patrol Leader (SPL), and has been through National Youth Leadership Training.
“National Youth Leadership Training is the best thing a scout can do,” Tatalovich said. “It is a phenomenal program. It teaches you so much about how you look at the world, and how to be a better leader, and how to be a better person, and how to make life better for other people. And I learned so much from it, and I am forever grateful.”
Tatalovich has been put into leadership roles throughout his time in scouts and was named SPL during his time at MBSR camp this summer where his leadership role expanded. He was in charge of the younger scouts and even had to settle disputes between them.
“SPL is not a fun position,” Tatalovich said. “I got a lot of crap throughout the week saying ‘You’re SPL, you get to do whatever you want,’ which I think a lot of people need to learn that being a leader isn’t easy. It really isn’t. And just because you’re a leader, and you get certain privileges, doesn’t mean that it’s easier.”
Tatalovich began playing the b flat clarinet in sixth grade where he followed his mother, and her mother. Although seventh- and eighth-graders aren’t usually invited to join marching band, the band director asked Tatalovich to join in his eighth grade year. He had to change instruments to xylophone in order to do that.
“He really needed some percussion kids, and he asked me to play in pit, which is front ensemble,” Tatalovich said. “That was a big difference going from a wind instrument to one where you’re using your hands and hitting keys.”
He was named section leader of front ensemble after being in it for a year and also began playing the bass clarinet for the concert band. After learning all of the music for his second year in front ensemble, the band director then asked if he’d like to join the drumline.
“I’m like, OK! So I’m learning an entirely new instrument,” Tatalovich said. “I’ve never played it before, but just like my first year in percussion, my mom kept on supporting me saying ‘you’ll get it just like you did on xylophone.’ I mean, I’m getting there!”
Tatalovich takes a lot of pride in being in the marching band and points out it isn’t as easy as people like to think it is. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication.
“Our band camp was eight to eight (8 a.m.-8 p.m.) at the high school. So you’re in the sun for at least seven out of the 12 hours you’re there,” Tatalovich said. “You’re in this blistering hot heat, you’re marching, you get like three water breaks out of the entire day. And you’re just constantly going and going, and some of these people have massive instruments on, and you’ve got to play good. So you’re constantly expelling air. And people always make fun of band kids saying it’s an easy sport to play marching band. It’s really not.”
Tatalovich hopes to go on to college at Ohio University where he’ll major in music, and get a masters in percussion or maybe woodwind, and come back to Marietta to be the band director for the Wall of Sound.
“I’ve kind of figured out I like it here in Marietta,” Tatalovich said.
When not dedicating all of his time to scouts and band, Tatalovich enjoys reading, playing strategy games, and fishing.
“I prefer bass fishing, but I’m down for anything pretty much.”