Orchestra grows; band remains big

September 9, 2011 — by Cecilia Hollenhorst

The music department never seems to stop growing. This year, approximately 450 students will be participating in one or more of the musical groups on campus.

The music department never seems to stop growing. This year, approximately 450 students will be participating in one or more of the musical groups on campus.

Just three years ago, there were two orchestra classes with a total of 89 students enrolled. This year, there are 138 orchestra members and three classes, leading music department chair and orchestra teacher Michael Boitz wondering about increasing to four orchestras in the future.

In addition to accommodating large class sizes, the music department must worry about all of the added responsibilities that come with having more students.

“We love to see so much participation in our programs,” Boitz said, “but it does get very complicated logistically.”

Senior Vivian Tsai, who has observed the group’s growth first-hand as a member of the orchestra, also admits that there are both advantages and disadvantages to the changes.

“It’s great that our program has grown so much, but I miss being able to play with everybody,” Tsai said. “It’s definitely harder to manage the orchestra.”

Having space to store instruments, organizing registration forms and keeping track of each student continue to increase in complexity with each new member, especially when groups embark on trips to perform, but all areas of the music department continue to welcome newcomers of any skill level.

Boitz believes that growth in number of students participating in the music program only makes the program stronger and for that reason is excited to see the record number of orchestra members this year. He attributes the freshman class’s enthusiasm for music to the positive influence of the Redwood Middle School band and orchestra staff.

“Many students are drawn to the music community in middle school and find an activity that they love,” said Boitz. “Continuing music in high school is the natural next step.”

While orchestra enrollment continues to increase, that of the marching band and Color Guard has remained in the range of 210-220 students for the past four years. The most significant change has been in Color Guard participation, which has increased from 32 students last year to a record 40 this season.

Not only is the freshman class represented in high numbers throughout the music department, but Boitz predicts that the class will flourish this year.

“The new students are awesome,” Boitz said. “They’re really fun and willing to try new things so far, I can’t wait to see how the year progresses.”

2 views this week