Band a time-consuming but valuable aspect of senior’s life

October 15, 2016 — by Elizabeth Lee and Jay Kim
Photo by Isabelle Yang

Senior Jaewoo Lee practices his conducting skills late at night.

Senior discusses stressful life as a drum major. 

As a drum major for the marching band, senior Jaewoo Lee has much responsibility on his shoulders even during a typical rehearsal.

Under the hot sun, he turns on the metronome. Glistening with sunscreen and wearing his jet-black sunglasses, he stands on a podium overseeing the 175 band members. With the help of other drum majors, senior Peter Vandevort, Adrianna White and Wyatt Schulman, the band members simultaneously move with the beat of Lee’s conducting to perfect their performance as the other drum majors yell out instructions.

“I love the atmosphere of a laser-focused rehearsal,” Lee said. “Everyone becomes so much better when we all forget about all the other parts of our lives and just think about band.”

Lee started his music career in seventh grade, playing the trombone for Redwood Middle School’s band. Now, almost seven years later, as one the drum majors for the marching band and a trombone player for the concert band, Lee spends about 15 hours playing music every week.

Thursdays are his most intense days for music. His mornings start with first-period chamber choir, where he sings the bass part of famous songs such as “The Awakening,” “Always Something Sings and If Ye love Me.”

Afterward, Lee heads to his favorite class — band, of course  only 1.5 hours of the 4.5 hours he will spend with the band that day. During rehearsals, Lee leads the band in practicing and memorizing music that they will perform at upcoming football games or competitions.

Though his music classes for the day have finished, Lee often finds himself in conversations about band throughout the  day. His tutorials are often spent hanging around in the band room, chatting with friends or experimenting with melodies on the piano.

At 6 p.m. on Thursdays, Lee returns to school for a 3-hour band rehearsal. Although the focus of each practice varies, the band usually completes some stretching or visual review for marching movements and then warms up on instruments.

“Stretching brings in people’s focus and gets them mentally ready for rehearsal,” Lee said. “After an hour, the band then works on marching and playing at the same time as a full group for the remaining time.”

Lee sees himself pursuing music in college and further delving into his passion in future years. Now that his four year in band are coming to a close, he sees how far it has helped him come.

Lee said that an especially memorable moment occurred the band won at BOA last year when nobody was expecting them to beat the other exceptional bands.

“Band has given me many musical and moral role models to lookup  up to,” Lee said. “Band helps so many different people just from SHS to connect where they couldn’t before,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          forming friendships across boundaries. I think band is a really positive experience just from meeting so many new people in one activity.”

Lee also remembers the highlight of last year when  so many of the seniors cried in happiness after the school won the Bands of America competition in Napa and how every single member celebrated all the hard work and sacrifice they put in.

“Now that I'm a senior, I think I actually understand how they felt having their last performance after four years of marching band result in celebrations,” Lee said. “I realized even more the power of a group sacrificing time and energy into making something great.


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