OPHS music department is back in full swing

Student musicians showcase their talent in a semester of hard work and talent

The Oak Park High School instrumental music program, which includes three concert bands, two jazz bands and a string orchestra, has had an eventful semester of accolades, events and fun.

The first showcase came with the Fine Arts Assembly on Feb. 23. The program’s top band, Wind Ensemble, played two pieces, selections from “Black Panther” and “O Magnum Mysterium,” as a slideshow highlighting achievements from the various art, ceramics, animation and graphic design classes. Their encore performance was “The Imperial March” from “Star Wars,” and the assembly concluded with all groups playing Civilization IV’s “Baba Yetu.” Some students had the opportunity to play solos in front of the entire student body.

“I love the band. Their performance was amazing, especially ‘Black Panther.’ Would watch again!” junior Ella Homesley said.

On March 17, the strings section performed at the La Cañada Band and Orchestra Festival. The festival was held at La Cañada High School, and the strings section competed against other schools. They performed in front of judges and received ratings, with excellent and superior being the two highest levels. 

“We did well. We got two superiors and two excellents as well. It was a fun time and I can’t wait to do it next year,” Strings sophomore Ethan Howard said.

Throughout the month of March, the OPHS Wind Symphony, Wind Ensemble and Concert Band groups also attended a band and orchestra festival, theirs at West Ranch High School. Musicians ran through parts of their sets until they were taken to the stage area. Judges sat in the audience, listening to each piece and giving the groups feedback they could go over later. All the bands received superior ratings from the judges.

“It was cool but weird, because it was dark all around us and the sound was more muffled. I had a really fun time there and I feel like I learned a lot,” Concert Band sophomore Diya Johny said.

On March 29, the OPHS band collaborated with Medea Creek Middle School for the District Music Festival. Members of the MCMS band learned to play pieces from OPHS band students. Throughout the day, the students collaborated on pieces within their respective instrument groups. They then rehearsed with all of the groups together. The day concluded with a joint concert between OPHS and MCMS bands for family, friends and community members.

“I think it’s super cool that the high schoolers taught the middle schoolers and that they collaborate so well. It’s such an amazing way to teach the future classes that will come to OPHS,” sophomore Kavya Mehta, a spectator at the Music Fest performance, said.

Every night from April 25 through April 27, a series of Spring Concerts were held in the Pavilion. The first night featured the Concert Band and Wind Symphony; the second night featured choir, strings and Wind Ensemble; the third night featured the jazz bands.

“I really loved watching the band perform. The Wind Ensemble did fantastic the night I went to watch,” sophomore Brayden Andera said.

On April 29, the “A” and “B” jazz bands competed at the Canyon Jazz Festival. Both bands traveled to Canyon High School and performed songs in front of judges. The judges gave them a rating while they competed against other schools in the area. The “A” band placed first in their division by the end of the festival.

To close out the season, the music program held its banquet on May 5. Student musicians celebrated all their pieces, competitions and accomplishments as they said goodbye to their senior class and looked forward to coming years of success.