Ben Saul

Ben Saul with music he is working on in quarantine.


Sharing things is the last thing recommended right now in quarantine season. But Doane juniors Garrett Reese and Benjamin Saul share their gift of music.

Reese is constantly writing music and songs and sharing them with Saul, Saul said.

“Eventually I found the time to do a lot of my own writing and decided to return the favor,” Saul said. “Now we typically send music back and forth as it appears in our minds.”

Reese said he likes sharing his music with people, which is one of the reasons he wants to be a songwriter. 

“I know Ben as someone who is appreciative of my music, but also willing to give me feedback if I need it,” Reese said.

Reese has written three to four songs since they started sharing music at the beginning of April.

Saul has written seven complete songs and has four ideas in progress.

Writing music for Saul has been a new experience.

“I thought for the longest time I had to write a ‘classical masterpiece’ but it turns out, simply turning feelings and experience into music is good enough,” Saul said.

Reese hasn’t been affected by COVID-19 when it comes to writing music.

“I write best when I’m alone,” Reese said. “I always find it really awkward when there’s another person, besides my songwriting professor, in the room. It restricts my writing ability. 

One of Reese’s songs is called “Icarus.” It is inspired from a painting he saw in a museum on a Doane Choir tour.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the legend and always thought it had a pretty good moral to the story: ‘Don’t fly too close to the sun’,” Reese said.

Reese wanted to make the topic more relatable to a general audience. He began thinking of other metaphors and and the song just came together, he said.

Saul thinks social distancing affected the music he has written.

He has written songs for friends he misses and cares about. A sense of longing is a recurring theme in his current music.

Saul’s favorite composition he has made so far is just composted on the piano, with no words. It is called Emerald Rain.

“Emerald Rain, for me, is the experience of sitting on your balcony at night as a light rain covers the trees,” Saul said. “The moon lights the world up and there is a sense of calm and absolute beauty in that single moment.”

Reese spends at least an hour or more a day working on his music in his basement. He uses his Voice Memo app on his phone to sing and talk into. He explains his reasoning behind what he is creating as well.

Saul spends around five hours a day making music. Only one or two of those hours are composing. The other time is spent practicing saxophone, piano, voice and guitar. His compositions are made from stringed instruments. These instruments include the banjo, bass, guitar, piano and voice.

Reese said his favorite part about making music is expressing himself. He enjoys sharing his emotions and creating stories.

Saul enjoys it when people understand his music. If people take the time to listen and have a conversation about it, they will understand his voice behind the notes, Saul said.

“There are only so many things you can share with words, but with music, anything is possible,” Reese said.