By Nikki-Rose Huerta
Senior Ben Brannen seemed like any other student athlete. He played Pop Warner in fifth grade, and continued football until high school. As expected, he joined the freshman football team in 2010. In the same year, he also joined Music Machine and has been dedicated to his athletic and show choir careers ever since.
“Ben was a gumpy freshman who couldn’t dance and didn’t want to hurt anybody.” Ben’s mother, Lisa Brannen said.
As a student athlete, most would assume Ben had enough on his plate. He is an AP student, made the principal’s honor roll, and is a member of CSF, yet Music Machine takes up time throughout the whole school year. But giving up any of these things was not an option for him.
“That’s how I was raised. To not give up. Might as well finish what I’ve started,” Brannen said.
Brannen’s constant dedication to both football and show choir has already opened doors for his future. Ben is speaking with coaches from the University of Redlands and San Diego State University about his possible future in college football. In addition, Ben plans to be busy during his breaks in college.
“I plan on going to LA for auditions for movies. Like my cousin, she’s filming a movie in Bulgaria. And my dad has the hookups,” Brannen laughed.
Music Machine director Gail Kennedy has been working in show choir for 35 years, but started working at Bonita this year. She was immediately impressed with Ben’s professional attitude.
“Ben is one of the strongest in many choirs I’ve had. He’s dedicated and hardworking,” Kennedy said.
Ben is a section leader for bass singers in Music Machine and is also an assistant director. As a section leader, he guides the other bass singers in what they’re supposed to be doing in their sets and acts as their guide.
“Ben wants to be the best at whatever he does… He takes his leadership responsibilities in both groups very seriously and goes above and beyond to try to help [others] achieve their goals,” Lisa Brannen said.
In football, Ben is a captain who plays both guard and tackle. Doing both football and Music Machine was not socially easy for him, at first.
“I didn’t like [Music Machine] at first, because all the [football] guys would make fun of me. But now it’s senior year and all of them are so supportive,” Brannen said.
Having two different sets of friends is not the easiest social decision for most people, but Ben has made the best of all the people he works with.
“It’s like a family, everybody’s close … At the end of the day, they’re all my brothers and sisters, you know? [In football] it’s the same thing. It’s like having a bunch of brothers,” Brannen said.
Having already begun his acting career, Ben was in a play at Eastlake High School, Miss Saigon, in the summer before his senior year. The play was well received by the students who attended, impressed by their peer’s accomplishments and he had support from his family, and both friend groups.
“… They [football players] even came to the play,” Brannen said, speaking about how his groups merge, “The Music Machine kids go to my games, and the football guys go to my performances… I’ve gained more memories like that.”
These experiences have given Ben priceless attributes that can only benefit him in his bright future, whether it is with football, show choir, or academics.
“I think music will always be a big part of his life… His attributes will help in being successful in whatever he chooses. It’s helped form him as a person. His discipline will be a strength to him,” Kennedy said.
Brannen’s parents are supportive of him for whatever he decides, in show business, or football.
“We want Ben to follow his dreams and do whatever will make him happy. His Dad and I would love to watch him play college ball. I hope he will find music there in some capacity as well. Ben has a good head on his shoulders. We are confident he will make smart decisions along the way,” Lisa Brannen said.