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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Junior fosters long lasting love for music

Petr performs a flute solo in a chamber ensemble during the benefit concert on March 5th.

For his sixth birthday, junior Petr Tupitsyn got the gift of a recorder from his great grandmother.  That gift was the start of a lifelong passion for music that has continued at the school.

From there, he took recorder lessons. He also later learned how to play the flute and piccolo. 

This year, he was one of the marching band’s four drum majors. He says this experience helped him build useful leadership skills and increased an already strong work ethic. 

His first experience in a school band was in seventh grade, when he played the flute and was encouraged to also play the piccolo by his band director. Tupitsyn attended Rolling Hills until eighth grade, when he transferred to Redwood and continued in the advanced symphonic band. 

Before transferring to Redwood, he participated in band  because he had an empty elective spot and knew how to play the flute, but in eighth grade he realized that he wanted to take music and band seriously. 

As a middle schooler, the most transformative piece that factored into his decision to continue playing in high school was the “Sonata Latina” by Mike Mauer on the flute. Tupitsyn played the piece at many competitions, and for the first time in his life, he didn’t feel like he was being forced to practice or play; instead, he said he felt excited and passionate about his music. By eighth grade, Tupitsyn had the basics, such as scales, down and could move onto more advanced professional pieces, which also helped him feel more connected to music.

Tupitsyn vividly remembers one competition where he had a chance to perform in a student-led concert after earning first place in the Middle School Individual Category. Although his parents had watched his past recitals, the crowd was full of people Tupitsyn knew, and had never been that massive. 

“I got to play my piece in front of all the parents and all the kids at the concert, which I was super excited about. Somewhere, I still have like the grainy video of me standing on stage and playing,” Tupitsyn said. “I still remember that there was such a big crowd, and it was great. I think that was the year that I decided I wanted to do school band.”

When Tupitsyn joined the marching band freshman year, his initial plan was to leave after one year.

“I remember, literally a week before the sophomore class decisions were due, I thought, ‘You know what? I have a free period. Might as well take band,’” Tupitsyn said. “God, I don’t know what happened, but  over quarantine, I really, really fell in love with marching band.” 

His passion for marching band led him to try out for drum major. The application process, which included asking three peers, a veteran drum major and a veteran leadership member for letters of recommendation, attending workshops, being interviewed with the board of directors and filling out a written application, began in March of Tupitsyn’s sophomore year. He was officially accepted for the position in the summer before his junior year.

Besides conducting — keeping time — during marching band shows, he deals with logistics: making sure all the equipment is present and everything is functioning correctly, as well as ensuring students are in the correct building.
A part of Tupitsyn’s journey included leaving his private teacher, who taught him everything he knows, in the summer between his sophomore and junior year. He had been working with her for the past decade, and eventually outgrew her instruction. 

“When I was young, she taught me, and I grew with her,” Tupitsyn said. “She basically said that I outgrew her over the course of the past 10 years I’ve had with her. She realized that she enjoys working with younger kids more.” 

Tupitsyn continued attending competitions, but focused his energy toward marching band and conducting. 

This led him to apply to be a part of The Blue Devils B, a professional marching band, who puts on a show once a year and tours California and the Midwest. The Blue Devils are record-beating world champions, and Blue Devils B is the high school equivalent, which Tupitsyn was accepted into. He is the field assistant, which is a drum major minus parts of the tour during the summer.  

Tupitsyn decided to audition for the Blue Devils because of the performance aspect of the marching band, which he said is his favorite part of music. 

He said showmanship is a large part of being a drum major since they stand on podiums in front of the audience while conducting and wear a uniform while performing salutes. Performing motivates him to keep practicing and improve his flute playing. 

“It’s so satisfying when you can practice something and then you play it and it sounds good. It makes me feel good,” he said. “If I’m ever feeling unmotivated, I imagine myself in a concert, and it makes me feel ‘hyped up’ for practice.”

Tupitsyn is taking a multitude of difficult AP classes on top of his music pursuits, including both winter percussion and jazz band and Blue Devils practice. He thinks he has been able to juggle all his commitments because of the strong academic foundation he  built when he was an underclassman. 

Tupitsyn found that he cannot take as many AP classes, something he is glad to do in order to take more music classes. He added that understanding of music helps him create unorthodox connections and understand academic subjects better. Despite not being a huge fan of chemistry, Tupitsyn took Chemistry Honors sophomore year and found that the subject connected to music. 

“The same way an acid and a base interact is the same way that a subdominant and the dominant interact in a chord progression,” he said. “That’s how it started to make sense for me, these things because it’s like through music, I can understand the world better.”

He added that he feels he has matured and developed his leadership skills as a result of all his extracurriculars and responsibilities. 

Whether Tupitsyn pursues music as a major or not in college, he knows that it will always be a major part of his life. 

“I think the team leading skills I’ve gathered are really what I would cherish the most in the long run,” he said. “I love music because it brings people together. I’ve made so many friends through my passion for music.”

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