Staff Writer

PORTLAND – Nick Brown would be among the first to admit that what he was looking for in a college was a little unusual.

Students willing to take on the course load of double majors are rare enough. But Brown, who just graduated in the top 10 in his class at Deering High School, told college representatives that he wasn’t looking for a typical pairing of majors.

“I would say music and chemistry and everyone would just groan,” Brown said.

When he met with a rep from Boston University, however, Brown was told the school had just started a five-year double major program that encouraged students to major in an art and a science.

That’s a big reason why he’s headed there this fall.

Brown is following up on a busy high school career. In addition to his studies and band, he was also on Deering’s top doubles team in tennis, a starter on the varsity soccer team and class president in his junior year. He said a highlight of that last item was raising enough money for the senior class present to the school — a new sound system for the gym, which cost nearly $2,000.

And Brown was certainly a standout on the Deering band. He was selected to the Maine All-State Concert Band all four years and also plays with the Portland Youth Wind Ensemble and the Portland Youth Symphony Orchestra and was the principal clarinetist in the orchestra at the All-Eastern Music conference in Baltimore this spring.

Brown said he decided to play clarinet because a cousin did and it was the only instrument he was somewhat familiar with.

He said he considers the clarinet “the violin of the woodwinds” because it’s versatile and what he’s called on to do changes a lot from piece to piece.

Sports, he said, was a nice counterpoint to the individual aspect of music, even when playing in a band.

“I like the camaraderie a lot,” he said. “In band, you just worry about yourself, because that’s all you can control. With sports, you’ve got a team competing.”

And chemistry beckoned because Brown found math a challenge he could tackle.

And he’s not concerned about what he will face for the next five years.

“Everyone says college chemistry is brutal,” he said. “I’m not going to let that deter me.”