Kennedy March Band: Measure for Measure

By Liliana Lopez, Copy Editor

Whether it’s during halftime at football games, or on Friday’s spirit marches, most students at Kennedy have heard our sensational band perform. Throughout the years, the marching band has presented a number of unique musical selections.

Marching to the music, brass section members rehearse this year’s Nightmare Before Christmas show. Photo by Hana Ruiz, Clarion Staff

This year is no different; band’s newest show is a suite from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. The movie is a favorite for many, and JFK Marching Band & Color Guard’s interpretation will indubitably be a great success with both regional judges and the Kennedy community. As clarinet player Ethan Pham-Aguilar (11), says: “I love this show because it’s fun and catchy. I think it’s different and goes with the holiday season.”

The music for Nightmare Before Christmas was originally scored by Danny Elfman. The songs were arranged for the JFK musicians to perform by Kennedy music directors Jeremy Hammond and Bryan Stroh. Sheldon Caldera directed the Kennedy Color Guard.

Guard member Nina Jones (class of 2020), prepares to spin a flag. Photo by Hana Ruiz, Clarion Staff

At their competition in Del Oro on October 19th, they captured the highest score overall in a field of 47 bands. The Kennedy band showcased their skills by receiving Field Sweeps and first place in division 6A with an overall score of 90.88. Broken down this translates to first place in Woodwinds at 97 points, second place in Color Guard at 91.05 points, and second place in Brass at 97 points. These high scores, however, do not come easy.

Band members dedicate hours to practicing, both in and out of school. For most students, a typical Tuesday evening might consist of a bite to eat, homework, and Netflix; but for band members, Tuesday evening means rehearsing from 6-9. In fact, the typical schedule of a band student during marching season is as follows: summer practice beginning in mid-July, a one-week long band camp, rehearsal on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings, and sectional rehearsals throughout the week. This doesn’t account for the time that students practice during band class and at home. It takes an astounding deal of dedication on behalf of both the musicians and their directors in order to produce the great, award-winning shows that we at JFK often take for granted (last year JFK marching band and color guard won sweepstakes, indicating that they scored higher than all other bands in the competition).

But more importantly, band is a way to connect students across grade levels, creating a closely knit community. As Mr.Stroh put it, “Band can be an activity where their [students’] contribution is valued and they can feel part of something big and important”. And perhaps that something isn’t bragging rights to the sonorous music that drifts from the band room or the field during fourth period. Perhaps that something isn’t the countless scintillating awards lined up on shelves and tables. Perhaps turning their individual talent into an art form that we, as an audience, can all share in is the “big and important” thing that keeps these hardworking students motivated. So the next time you hear band during fourth period, after school, or at the games, stop and take a listen. It’s worth it.

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