Honor Band, Orchestra Participate In Central District Performances


By Taylor Ann Ono
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(Anika Ramos | Trojan Times) The two featured clinicians, Dr. Peter Boonshaft (above) from New York and Clyde Uyehara from Maui, both visited all participating schools and were also judges for the Central District Parade of Bands on March 4.

From late February through early March, the Central District Honor Band and Orchestra were given a special opportunity to prepare for performances under the direction and assistance of professional music clinicians. These performances only involved Central District schools, with MHS being one of them. On Feb. 14, Honor Orchestra performed at Roosevelt High School, and on March 4 the Honor Band performed at Radford High School. This experience gave students a feeling of what going into a musical career would be like in the future.

“No other district in the state has an ensemble like this so we’re really lucky. It’s something we shouldn’t take for granted, so to me that’s really important and that’s why I’m so honored to be in this. Honor band (is) important because (it) promotes the love of music and the performance of music, as well as the friendships you make. It allows us, to work with prestigious conductors that allow us to expand our musical horizons,” expressed Senior Brandie Kasaoka.

The clinicians that the students worked with helped them to improve as a group, and inspired them individually. “These clinicians that we bring in, they’re known to work well with students, and in a short amount of time (are) able to raise the musical level of any group that they work with,” stated Central District High School Honor Band Chairperson Curtis Hiyane. “(As a director), we get to observe someone working with the students, so we get to see what works and just a different spin on how to run a rehearsal.” Kasaoka added, “This band puts a lot of emphasis on responsibility, so (for example) practicing your own part, showing up on time and carrying your own weight. I’ve learned to become a better musician from comments from other band directors, the guest commissions and even friends.”

Students and directors  alike benefitted greatly from the event. “I think for me as a teacher and as a band director, the cherished moments are things that happen in rehearsal, and the struggles we go through. It’s more the journey, watching students grow and being able to see the final product at the performance,” said Hiyane. “I believe that music is a very important subject for any student to be involved with. Music addresses the aesthetics of a human being and being able to get in touch with your (feelings) and to express that feeling. Especially nowadays with electronics and not necessarily having to have a face-to-face conversation, sometimes the emotional part gets lost. It’s even more important that in our day and age, we foster and develop music.”

Because the students need to be able to harmonize when they perform, they create new friendships from working together. “What we do as directors is we try to incorporate a little bit of social aspect, not strictly just the music but we have refreshments provided at each rehearsal, so that they can eat before they leave and mingle and socialize. The interaction becomes important in that they feel comfortable with the group that they’re playing in. We try and do the best we can,” stated Hiyane. Kasaoka also stated, “I’ve made friends from all of the schools. It’s really great because we all have the opportunity to grow together as musicians and I think that’s really fun.”

Although the event as whole is important, much of it is about the music and connections that are being created. “I really enjoy the bond that everybody gets to have with each other, because I think if we didn’t have (it) and we were all independent, we wouldn’t sound the way we do. Learning from the clinicians is really good and helpful to us because everybody has their own style, and it helps (those of us) who want to go into music,” said Junior Kaileen Lardizabal. “My connection with music, I personally haven’t really found yet, it’s just something that I feel. I know it’s something that I’m good at, and it helps me to relieve my stress a lot because I can express my emotions.” Kasaoka added, “Just the overall experience is something that I won’t forget, from the friends that I’ve made, the music that we’ve played and all the guest commissions that I’ve worked with. I really don’t think, no matter where I go in life—I don’t think I’ll experience something like this again.”

Every student involved in this was able to gain something from the experience. Being able to go through this process did not only help the high school band and orchestra, but also the beginning and intermediate bands that got to participate. The performances that the students put on were open to the public for anyone to listen to and enjoy.