Marching band prepares a ‘dream’ show

September 26, 2018 — by Andrew Li and Jeffrey Ma

Color guard has been hard at work under the guidance of a new coach.

With preparation for marching season in full swing, members of the band are hard at work preparing their field show for upcoming tournaments and football games.

The show, titled a “A Dream Within,” reflects the changes in thoughts and imagination that people undergo as they age.

“When you are a child, you have wondrous thoughts, but when you grow up, you lose your sense of imaginations,” band director Jason Shuian said.

During the composition process, Shiuan had difficulties uniting the musical ideas he wanted under a single concept. His initial theme idea was “wonder,” but after revisiting the music, he decided to focus the concept on dreams instead.

 

Shiuan highlighted the vastly different aspects of dreams reflected in the incorporated pieces of music: Danny Elfman’s score for the 2011 movie “Alice in Wonderland” brings a adventurous, fantastical sense; Elfman’s “Serenada Schizophrana” echoes a darker, mysterious feel; Samuel Barber’s “Violin Concerto” evokes an introspective, pensive sense; and Karl Jenkins’s “The Armed Man” projects an awesome, uplifting sense.

These aspects of the show should illustrate a “regaining [of] a sense of imagination,” Shuian said.

For senior drum major Deyshna Pai, the change of the show’s title from “Wonder” to “A Dream Within” is not a complete rewriting of the show but rather just a refitting.

“I don’t think the theme [of ‘wonder’] was scrapped, but [rather] the show title was just changed because there still is a mystical, mysterious, and fantastical element to the show,” Pai said. “[These concepts] are better articulated with the new title ‘A Dream Within,’ emphasizing how surreal and fabricated everything feels.”

In contrast to last year, choir is not participating in the field show this year. Last year’s props, which were donated to SHS by the Concord Blue Devils, were sold to a Kansas band.

To aid in the show’s progress, the band made changes to the Color Guard and battery percussion staff.

New Guard instructor Jazz Legaspi was welcomed to fill the vacancy left by the departure of former instructor Joey Kidd. Legaspi worked with the Winter Guard last year as an instructor and technician, and is now stepping up as the lead Guard instructor at the suggestion of Kidd.

Because of Legaspi’s past experience, the change from Kidd to Legaspi has been relatively smooth, Shiuan said.

“We’ve been able to work really well together and make it a seamless transition,” Shiuan said. “[Legaspi] is an integral part of how the show progresses.”

The change in guard staff was paralleled in the battery with the elevation of the battery instructor, Sean Clark.

Marching percussion has two ensembles: the battery and the front ensemble, also known as pit percussion.  The battery marches on the field with the rest of the instruments and includes instruments such as the snare drum. However, the stationary front ensemble, with instruments such as the xylophone, does not march, and plays at the front of the band.

Clark had previously worked with the battery during the winter percussion season, but this year he stepped up as the primary instructor for all of battery, guiding drummers through music and the show.

Shiuan said that the addition of Clark was another effortless shift, with “Clark diving right into work with the percussion students in the battery.”

Shiuan looks forward to seeing the new staff members impact on the program and on the students and hopes that their work with the band will create a lasting legacy for the program.

Pai echoed Shuian’s comments on the changes in staff, praising both the transition and the newcomer’s skills.

“They’re just awesome people who are really good at what they do, so our program is in good hands,” Pai said.

Saratoga will compete on Oct. 13 at Cupertino High School for the the Cupertino Tournament of Bands, on Oct. 20 at Diablo Valley College for the Bands of America NorCal Regional, on Oct. 27 at Foothill High School for the Foothill Band Review, and on Nov. 3 at Los Angeles Valley College for the Bands of America SoCal Regional.

Though the band has historically done very well at competitions, Shiuan has goals beyond just trophies and first place.

“As we grow older, we have expectations that box us in, for better or for worse,” Shiuan said. “I’m hoping that the students are thinking more and being more introspective about not having to be the prescribed person, and being able to rediscover their imagination.”

 

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