BILLINGS - A Billings Symphony musician recently fulfilled another one of his dreams and appeared on Jeopardy.
He looks at those as great opportunities and says he's fortunate to be able to pursue his passions.
Joey Lavarias plays the bassoon for the Billings Symphony.
"I definitely get to meet people that I don't think I ever would if I stayed in North Carolina," Lavarias said.
He flies into Billings for the concerts, graduated from Juilliard, and is working on his PhD in Music at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.
And recently, he appeared on Jeopardy.
"I was very nervous because at that point, I was going up against a champion, Jackie, who is really incredible," Lavarias said. "Like she had just gotten a game where she won $50,000 in one game. That's insane."
While he didn't beat the champion, he's happy with his performance.
"I'm very proud that I was able to actually show that I am a competent Jeopardy player," he said.
He started playing music around the same time he developed a passion for Jeopardy.
"I've been obsessed with Jeopardy since I was like five," Lavarias said. "I love trivia. I just love learning random facts about everything. I've been a voracious reader since, again, I was five."
Joey says music and Jeopardy bring out similar skills.
"You learn that everything you do is based on a certain set of fundamentals," he said. "A lot of our work as musicians is gut. And so it's the same thing with Jeopardy. You have to act on your instincts, a lot."
He uses his performing skills as a mascot for a sports team that he can't name because he wants to keep up the image of that character.
With the mascot, his education, the symphony and Jeopardy, life has been good for Joey Lavarias.
"It is like a fairy tale," Lavarias said. "I've expected nothing from myself ,but that's what makes my life so fulfilling. Just gets better and better every year."