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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Brandon Roberts

Redmond, Oregon

Double Major in History and Secondary Education

Roberts is best known around campus as a guitarist for the Cherry Street Combo.

Brandon Roberts ’24 aspires to be a high school social studies teacher. He decided to study history because he believes it is an avenue to understanding the nuances of society and how it functions. 

At Knox, Roberts has embraced working in a group setting. He believes group work can help build interpersonal relationships and provide leadership opportunities. Roberts believes it’s the responsibility of teachers to use communities to enhance learning. At Knox, he has utilized the opportunity to put these skills into practice as a practicum student at Galesburg Junior High School and will continue as a student teacher in the coming year.  

Through his various positions on campus, Roberts has developed as a leader—both inside and outside a classroom setting. As an orientation leader, Roberts has worked closely with first-year students, guiding them through their transition into college. 

“Meeting new students and asking for their feedback, I have learned that I ask a lot of questions—especially about how people are feeling, how they are doing, and what they are thinking,” Roberts said. 

For Roberts, being an orientation leader is a high-energy job. He describes this as wearing a “mask”, because it is important to show excitement when interacting with others while at the same time, trying to be real. If you feel lost, Roberts believes it’s better to say so because the people around you may be able to help. 

In his spare time, Roberts is also a musician and performer. While he plays a variety of different instruments, Roberts is best known around campus as a guitarist for the Cherry Street Combo. Directed by Andy Crawford, managing director of jazz and instrumental programs, the Cherry Street Combo is an audition-only band that performs at the Galesburg Community Arts Center. 

Roberts is currently in the process of releasing his new solo album How’s The Water under the artist name The BDR project. The album features songs performed almost entirely by Roberts, with the goal of capturing the homeyness of midwestern culture. 

The cover for the album was designed at the annual Knox Earth Day Festival, a collaborative community event aimed at learning more about ways to protect the environment. Roberts explained that one of the booths had a scrapbooking attraction that reused part of magazines published at Knox, such as The Knox Student and Catch. He plans on continuing music as a hobby outside of his professional career—be that occasional gigs or recording and releasing more albums. 

The bottom line is, I don't want to be forced to play music as a professional—there's something liberating as an artist about being an amateur,” he said.

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Knox College

Printed on Saturday, June 22, 2024