By Elyana Schosek
Academics, arts, athletics.
Springville-Griffith Institute High School Principal James Bialasik has continued to emphasize this idea for a number of years for students. Each of the three categories is pretty self-explanatory.
The SGI Music Department allows students to start playing an instrument in fourth grade and to continue through high school if they so choose.
“Just as athletics and other competitive teams are concerned, playing a musical instrument, whether it be a piccolo or a string bass, allows you to become part of something,” one high school band member said.
Last week the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade band students performed at the high school for their families. This week, the seventh through twelfth graders will be having a concert.
Olivia Giammarco is a junior at SGI and has played flute in the band since fourth grade. When asked why she has continued it for as long as she has, she answered simply, “It brings a way for me to connect with both myself and others through music.”
Cora Miller is in fourth grade at SGI and has just begun playing clarinet this year. When asked why she started playing she gave quite a simple response: “Because it sounded fun and the teacher is very, very nice,” with a little laugh.
At the high school, band is scheduled for first period, which means it’s how many students start their days.
“As a student, band is an amazing opportunity to get out there and do something different and exciting in your school day rather than sitting through class after class,” Olivia added.
As students get older and advance through school, the opportunities and experiences surrounding band become more and more. Not only can students play in concert band but also jazz and marching bands along with, pit orchestra and TNSE, or Tuesday Night Strings. All of these side groups allow students to grow their musical abilities and to simply be involved.
Cora noted that she “hopes to play in middle school and high school” and that she looks forward to being in the parades as a part of the marching band.
“Everyone is expected to do their part to improve the band and make a difference in the sound produced,” Olivia said. “The chain is only as strong as its weakest link, is most definitely the message that is shared with band members to encourage them to practice and get better because it can be hard to motivate yourself enough to get better if you are only doing it for yourself.
“I would say that the best part of band is definitely connecting with other people on a musical level to work and make each piece the best it can be,” she added.
As a younger student, Cora had a slightly different take on what the best part of band is. She mentioned that her favorite part was the “bravo tickets” which are just small slips of paper that students receive congratulating them on an accomplishment.
While accomplishments are still recognized in high school, it works a little differently. You have the ability to change your chair which revolves around skill level and determines your part. A higher chair is achieved through hard work and dedication.
“The teamwork and sense of belonging to something successful is one like no other and I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on that,” Olivia said. When Cora was asked why band is a good opportunity she said, “because you get to learn a new thing and play an instrument that maybe you’ve never played before.”
Most of the fourth graders have only had two concerts thus far in their musical careers so when Cora was asked how she feels about them, she took no time in saying they’re scary. She mentioned the fact of being up on stage in front of so many people and her feelings are understandable
For their first concert, they played simple songs like, “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Hot Cross Buns.” Cora said that they were easy for her, which shows the amount of time she spends practicing to be her best.
Olivia strongly recommends that people get involved in music and not just students. She made a point of saying that it doesn’t matter when you make the decision, just that you do.
“So whether you are picking your instrument as a fourth grader, contemplating joining band as a sophomore or are deciding to pick up a guitar at 40, music is an essential part of the modern world and holds an immense impact on everyone’s lives no matter how small their involvement,” she said.
For the students who are not involved in the music department or who aren’t quite old enough yet and even adults who play an instrument, music brings people together and is an important part of our lives.