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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Orchestra, band prepare for Spring concert

Bren Belmonte

   On May 16, orchestra and Concert band will be performing in the Spring Concert at the Gary E. Goodson Theater from 7:00 p.m to 8:30 p.m. Entry is free for all attendees. 

   Both orchestra and band have been practicing for months to prepare for the concert, with new pieces suited for both public performance and competitions like the Forum Festival. 

   “I wanted a very diverse range of music,” stated Melissa Romero, orchestra and band director. “We are preparing for festival, so we have to pick music that’s appropriate for taking off campus to be judged by music professors. It has to be diverse and show our range, but also fitting for the level of the group.” 

   The pieces that will be played do not focus on a central theme but instead are chosen by Romero to display the breadth of student skill, a mix of pop-culture and not. The setlist will be available on the night of the performance for attendees to preview. 

   “Personally, I like the rhythms and style of ‘Maharaja’ by Doug Spata. I’ve gone through many pieces being a senior citizen but ‘Maharaja’ spiced up my music repertoire,” stated senior Henry Vo. “The ensemble usually plays a faster-paced piece, a slow-piece, a modern-music piece, but ‘Maharaja’ just sounds like I stepped foot in Mumbai, India. It’s very different from everything I’ve ever played.” 

   Though instrumental concerts often include student conductors, this year has a much larger number of conductors for orchestral pieces at both an intermediate and advanced level. 

   “The biggest change we’ve made this year is having the advanced orchestra be all student conducted, and intermediate having one student conductor as well,” stated Romero. 

   Seniors Kendall Suehiro, Andrew Tsui, Vo, juniors Nicole Otoguro and Josh Peralta, and sophomore Eisen Hy will be conducting specific pieces throughout the concert. 

   “I thought it’d be fun,” stated Suehiro. “I do not have any experience with conducting but I’ve seen many conductors and played with student conductors too. It’s not too bad, keeping time is the biggest thing, but a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.”

   Conducting offers students the opportunity to not only create music but come to understand the technical understanding of directing it. 

   “It was definitely nerve-wracking at first considering that I myself am the metronome, and ultimately the one in control of the piece,” stated Vo. “When you mess up, you can bet that the group will also make mistakes. Conducting is vastly different from playing in the orchestra itself. You can hear everything, it’s like you’re the audience but you actually shape and curate the sound to your vision of how the piece should be played.”

   While the Gabrielino Eagles Marching Regiment performed choreography as part of the performance, the transition to concert band places additional emphasis on the pieces being played since students are seated rather than moving across football fields. 

   “It’s a lot less visual and more focused on the music,” stated senior Joshua Soohoo. “I’ve been trying to make sure I know my stuff.” 

   This year, the band will also be playing with orchestra to perform a joint piece. 

   “It’s a little more difficult, challenging and interesting because we get to perform with the orchestra,” stated Soohoo. “We’re gonna kick butt, so people should come and hear us.”

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About the Contributors
Brian Ly
Brian Ly, Production Chief
Brian Ly is the Production Chief for the Tongva Times and is entering his fourth year with the paper. In his personal life, Brian has a keen interest in insects, collectible card games, books, and movies. He even aspires to raise his own "Gregor Samsas" when he finds the right environment. Interestingly, Brian initially joined the newspaper in his freshman year, mistaking it for a history class due to the presence of a textbook. Despite the unexpected start, he remained with the Tongva Times, drawn by the strong sense of community and the chance to interact with diverse individuals, from school athletes to the mayor of San Gabriel.
Bren Belmonte
Bren Belmonte, Staff Writer
Bren Belmonte is a Photographer and Staff Writer with three years of experience on our newspaper team. Outside of journalism, Bren enjoys cosplaying, photographing friends, reading manga, watching anime, and listening to music. Bren chose the journalism class in sophomore year after encouragement from family members in the industry. Since then, they've recognized it as a future passion and career interest.
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