From violinists to drummers, musicians orchestrate success


Hannah Kloninger-Stever

Orchestra plays during the winter concert Dec. 6. Both Advanced Band and Band II held their Winter Concert the following night.

Hannah Kloninger-Stever, Staff Reporter

Sequoia’s Bands and Orchestra have put themselves out there to showcase their musical and performing skills. The groups have been rehearsing since the start of the school year and wrapped up the season with winter concerts Dec. 6 and 7. This semester, each group welcomed about 20 incoming freshman and new students to its ranks.

“It’s a big leap from middle school,” junior percussionist Jacob Givens said. “I think the freshmen are doing a very good job of getting used to the new program and adjusting to the pieces we’re playing.”

While Band has separate intermediate and advanced classes, in orchestra there are not enough people to do so; therefore, all Orchestra students are in one class. Senior Eva Gillet, who has played violin for about ten years, joined orchestra as a freshman and has continued with it ever since.

“[Having only one group] can be a challenge because of the wide range of experience on the instruments, but we have sectionals where we work on spots that are really hard,” Gillet said. “Sectionals are one of my favorite things that we do.”

Both Orchestra and Band have also faced challenges with being relocated to the A-Wing as of last year, and having a hard time hearing all of the instruments in a smaller space. As of Dec. 14, they have been in the process of moving into the renovated M-Wing.

[The building in the A-Wing] is supposed to be a classroom, and the room that we had in the M-Wing was specifically for band and orchestra,” Gillet said. “In the A-Wing I can’t even hear the cellos or basses sometimes because of how the room is shaped.”

Orchestra has had difficulty as well with not having enough uniforms to fit all of the students, and had to simplify the outfits. Despite these practical inconveniences, band and orchestra continue to take on and master difficult repertoire. When a piece for intermediate band came late in the mail, they set their minds to perfecting it in a much more limited time frame. Band also had to quickly put together a makeshift bass drum using another drum after the original one broke during a football game, but they persevered and made it work.

“Advanced band took on a released classic, standard band piece that’s really hard that they play in colleges, [which is] Holst’s ‘Suite in E-flat,’” band conductor and teacher Jane Woodman said. “We’re working on some music from the opera Carmen in intermediate band and it’s got a lot of tough stuff, but they’re rising to the occasion.”

Orchestra challenged themselves for the winter concert with music from “West Side Story,” Mozart’s “Symphony #15” and Paul O’Neill’s “First Snow,” which they performed with an electric guitar, bass and violin while surrounded by fake snow falling.

“I’m always excited about the stuff we play for festival, because [it’s] really challenging for a lot of people.””

— Daniel Broome, Orchestra conductor

Both groups have much to look forward to next semester, with exploring new groups goals, as well as playing at classic events such as graduation and the Spring Festival, where they are reviewed by a panel of experts.

I’m always excited about the stuff we play for festival, because [it’s] really challenging for a lot of people,” orchestra conductor Daniel Broome said. “[I hope] we just have a good time. That’s what music’s about.”