Leland High School’s Big Band and Orchestra

Mr. Rian Rodriguez is the music director at Leland High School, and tonight he led both the school’s big band and orchestra through thoroughly entertaining sets that featured some Michael Jackson, marimba, Mozart, and Lin-Manuel Miranda. The students had clearly worked hard to prepare for this performance, and they were also clearly having fun with the dynamic repertoire. Continue reading “Leland High School’s Big Band and Orchestra”

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SJSU Wind Ensemble

I just got back from an absolutely wonderful concert from San Jose State’s Wind Ensemble; there was a beautiful balance between all the different sections, and there was a clear passion in the musicians’ performance as they subtly swayed back and forth with the music, fading into it. Directed by Dr. Edward Harris, the ensemble performed Gustav Holst’s Second Suite in F, Viet Cuong’s Diamond Tide, Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto in C Major for Piccolo, and John Mackey’s Aurora Awakes. The Vivaldi piece featured soloist Catherine Payne, who guides the San Jose State flute studio. Continue reading “SJSU Wind Ensemble”

March Fourth!

cropped-15037271_10210226988778537_1216626721793742348_n.jpgOn March 4th, band members everywhere took to social media with the hashtag “#marchfourth” (a play on the phrase “march forth”) to celebrate the magic that is marching band. DCI (Drum Corps International) has pushed for the holiday to be nationally recognized for several years now in order to promote and garner mass support for marching bands. In marching bands, students learn how to memorize music, work as a team, pay attention to detail, play with strength and confidence, and walk with an 8-to-5 swagger. Continue reading “March Fourth!”

Challenging for the Chair

There is always a battle for first chair, even at the tender age of eleven. At that age, it is quite validating to be considered the best — this is what the students at my middle school would brag about. However, when I was in eighth grade all the music teachers at my school decided to eliminate the “chair” system in which the students would compete for the seat in which the supposedly best instrumentalist would sit and get to play all the solos. The question is: are chair competitions effective and optimal for middle and high school ensembles? Continue reading “Challenging for the Chair”

Band at Simonds Elementary School

Outside the LibraryIt was a dark and stormy night, but this isn’t some dark and cliche horror story: it is one of laughter and learning. Once a week at 6:45 pm at Simonds Elementary School, students of various ages meet up and hold band classes. High schoolers lead these classes of fourth and fifth graders, teaching them how to play specific instruments and read sheet music. Despite the downpour on this one night, all these kids could be seen happily bounding to their designated classrooms, their giggling echoing through the hallways and competing with the sound of the pounding rain. Continue reading “Band at Simonds Elementary School”