Ryan, tell us briefly about all the many things you do for Cannonball?
–Currently I’m head of hand engraving. I come up with new designs, help other engravers, and teach new engravers. I’m also head of development for the Cannonball trumpet line, playing and hand-customizing each trumpet we send out. In my time here, I’ve also worked as a technician on saxophones, clarinets, and run the laser engraving in the Salt Lake Facility.
How did you learn to hand-engrave?
–It was mostly self-taught. We spent time experimenting with it at first, looking for any information we could find on engraving musical instruments (which is pretty sparse and hard to find). Most of the information available today about engraving is for guns, knives, or jewelry, and involves different techniques than for musical instruments. We looked at a lot of traditional engraving on old saxophones and tried to mimic it, while creating our own Cannonball “look”. Engraving can be frustrating sometimes and it’s hard to learn, but it’s very rewarding as well. It really takes a year of dedicated practice to be able to do it, and years to master. We learn new things all the time and are constantly improving.
Besides working for Cannonball you are an exceptional trumpet player. Tell us about the groups you play with like the Utah Wind Symphony.
–The Utah Wind Symphony is a new professional wind ensemble in the Salt Lake valley. Playing with the Utah Wind Symphony has been an amazing experience. The musicians are some of the best anywhere. In college I played in the University of Utah Wind Ensemble.
You’re more than an artist and Trumpet player– you design games too?
–I design niche board games as a hobby. I’ve worked as a digital illustrator for various board games for years, and this year I started publishing my own. You can see them at redravengames.com.
You speak Spanish fluently. Where did you learn to do that?
–I lived in the Dominican Republic for two years, serving a mission for the LDS church. It was a fantastic experience and I love the country.
Tell us about your wife, Malorie. How did you meet?
—I met Malorie in high school band class. We both play trumpet, and when the band director sat us next to each other, it wasn’t long before we were dating. The funny thing is, our director was Randal Clark (an amazing director), now Saxophone Acoustical Technician at Cannonball. When I left for the Dominican Republic, Malorie also left to serve a mission in Denmark, where she learned Danish. We both got home around the same time and five months later were married. We now have a son and a new baby daughter.
A lot of people think you look to be about 17 years old. It’s a gift to look young! You’ve accomplished a lot so far and obviously you aren’t 17. How old are you?
Your parents are Tevis and Sheryl Laukat. What was it like to grow up with them as parents?
—Tevis and Sheryl are two people with intense personalities, and our house was rarely boring. We were always involved in music from a young age. They used to have me play an old baritone when I was three, and maybe that’s why I went with a brass instrument and not saxophone! When I was 11, we joined the International Children’s Choir, where the whole family participated (Sheryl played piano and Tevis accompanied on woodwinds, while the three kids would sing in the Choir). This gave us many opportunities to tour and travel the world. I loved visiting Israel, but my favorite was Norway. They’ve been wonderful parents and have always supported me.
You also have a great gift of singing. How did you learn to sing and what were your early experiences with that?
—I took singing lessons when I was 12, and sang with the International Children’s Choir. Through my involvement in that group, I started getting called to record for commercials and other productions. I sang a solo for a commercial in the Super Bowl that introduced a major movie. I also was able to sing “Queen of the Night” on a Christmas TV special. But it didn’t last long: my voice changed the next year!
What is your favorite thing about working at Cannonball?
—I love the people here and how everyone is friends. We are such good friends that we get together even outside of work and hang out. I love to meet really amazing musicians as well.
It is rewarding when someone gets an instrument that they really like.