Spring Concert Has Music Department Banding Together


Photo by Polly Parakul

From first-year players to four-year veterans, student musicians from Petaluma City Schools gathered on April 20 in the school’s gym to perform a unified concert for parents, young siblings, grandparents, and their video recording devices. The performers ranged from fourth graders arriving with excitement and nerves, to seniors reminiscing on the anxiousness experienced through the eyes of the younger performers. The gym was filled with grandparents waiting patiently to hear the melodies of their grandchildren’s instruments and parents getting ready to film the outcome of hours of their children’s after school practices. Families and relatives gathered around the performers, leaving practically no room on the bleachers, resulting in viewers admiring performers on the floor. A full house waited for the air to soon be filled with anthemic melodies.

As the school’s band performed “Grease,” Brandon Martinez and Paula Ortiz danced in the musical’s signature style including the hand jive. The younger elementary musicians and audience watched closely as Martinez and Ortiz danced away, channeling Sandy and Danny from the musical.

The performance revolved around the iconic leather jacket that connected and matched with their performance of “Grease.” Not only were the two dancers dressed in the iconic jacket, but the band musicians in the back wore them, too; some also accompanied them with sunglasses.

Sophomore Cailyn Hillard, first chair bass clarinet in concert band, reflects on the festival as a whole, as well as her personal experience with band concerts.

“[The younger performers’] songs were pretty cool; it’s really hard to play an instrument as a little kid so that’s pretty amazing that they can do that. I think [the younger performers] did really good; I think that a lot of the kids were really inspired by our band to keep pursuing music. I thought it was really cool to see how much improvement that [all of the bands] have made as a whole,” said Hillard.

Junior Matthew Hart, percussionist of symphonic band, shares his opinion on the performances of younger students.

“Overall I think we did really well, not only us, but Kenilworth and all the elementary schools. It’s nice to have the band programs back in the elementary schools so they don’t just start off in Kenilworth; they start out a little bit more experienced. [In symphonic band] I think it’s just nice to know that people you’re playing with are experienced like you. [From the festival,] I personally liked “Grease” the most; it is just fun for me to play and listen to,” said Hart.

In between songs, band teacher Arlene Burney made a statement concerning her retirement. The audience gave a standing ovation as a response. Principal Eric Backman and choir teacher Sean Millard also gave speeches addressing and thanking Burney for her time in the school’s music program.

The two hour event came to an end with a grand performance that included both the elementary and junior high bands, as well as the more experienced high school musicians in one final song: “Let’s Go Band.”