Spirits soaring high at home

Oak Park Band members perform school alma mater on video

As beaches, schools and dine-in restaurants closed statewide, other things began to open in the homes of Oak Park High School band members: their instrument cases.

About a week before spring break, band director Zachary Borquez had the idea of coordinating a virtual performance of the school’s alma mater, one video at a time.

To accomplish this task, he had each band student play an audio of a metronome and then play a short excerpt of the song to follow. If a student did not have an instrument to play, they were to find an instrument at home instead. Some seniors were also asked to provide a video of them singing to accompany the piece.

“I feel that this helped to bring a sense of unity again, and it served as a good reminder for us to continue practicing our instruments [while away from school],” junior Gillian Ong wrote to the Talon.

The tune of the Alma Mater is a popular one across schools, derived from the 1857 song “Annie Lisle.” Cornell University was the first school to adopt this tune, and later Indiana University took it as its own as well.

Ilana Ormand, from OPHS’s graduating class of 1984, wrote the lyrics to the current Alma Mater. Upon hearing one of the band’s first performances later featuring the Alma Mater, she was delighted to hear it performed, according to Borquez.

According to Borquez, students will likely be able to view the completed video through ParentSquare, and potentially Youtube as well. In doing this, he hopes to give something back to the class of 2020.

“The Alma Mater is our school song. Just as the Eagle is our mascot and logo, the Alma Mater is the musical symbol of our school. It seemed a fitting subject for our project in hopes to bring a semblance of school community togetherness and normalcy in these times,” Borquez wrote. “We sing the Alma Mater at the conclusion of home football and basketball games, and at every rally (which we were not able to do one last time at the senior rally that never happened).”