Each year, each club loses some of its most skilled members – last year’s seniors. The seniors are usually the most experienced and knowledgeable contributors to the club. Last year, the band graduated twenty talented players and faces a tough rebuilding year for the 2015-2016 academic year. Although there are more newcomers to the band this year, it will be difficult to manage the balance between fun and work.
A junior who has been in the school band since her freshman year also admitted, “There were so many [seniors] and they really made the band feel like a second family.” However, she also believes that the band can recover from its slump, “Even with a smaller band, we still sound strong and the freshmen are good musicians.”
At the beginning of the year, it is especially hard for musicians to practice together and become accustomed to the balance of different instruments. The band will definitely see improvement as everyone continues to play together.
Mr. Penn, the band director for both the elementary and high school bands, took over the high school band just last year. “I came to a program with active musicians,” he explains, “Most of them had been playing for over three years and many were receiving private lessons. With those elements, the band from the beginning of the year had a strong foundation.”
According to Mr. Penn, most of last year’s seniors had “sincere enthusiasm about performances and competitions.” He was very happy that their excitement made them well prepared.
Although this year’s band may not be the same as last year’s, he sees potential. The band has only had a few days of rehearsal, and has already improved, “showing a great sign for things to come. I’ve seen seniors that haven’t touched an instrument in years who are already playing at a high school level in the past three days. I [also] see excitement in the freshmen’s eyes. They seem really excited about the program.”
It is true that the loss of seniors hurt the band, but everyone sees potential in the current class, especially with all of the new students. With some more practice and individual dedication, the band will truly be able to grow throughout the year.