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Three Schools Play in Harmony

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Three Schools Play in Harmony

Courtesy of Danielle Perea

Courtesy of Danielle Perea

Courtesy of Danielle Perea

Courtesy of Danielle Perea

Christine Nguyen, Staff Writer

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  On Monday, May 14th, the West Area Instrumental Music Festival was held in the gym from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 pm. Jefferson Middle School, Bert Lynn Middle School, and West High’s bands all came together that night to perform and display their musical talents individually and together as one by the end of the festival.

  As people were starting to come in, the bands were warming up and getting ready to entertain the audience. The audience consisted of the Torrance Board of Education, District Administration, and West Area Administration.

  Programs were distributed to the audience, introducing all the music pieces and directors. Mr. Banim, the West High band director, added a nice touch to the program with a meaningful message to promote appreciation for the arts. It said, “So you have something to cling to. So you will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good – in short, more Life.”

  The Jefferson Middle School Advanced Band, led by Mr. Gelbaum, started the festival off with a piece called Portsmouth Reflections, composed by Michael Oare. It was followed up by another piece called Caravan, composed by Duke Ellington. The band finished with Last Full Measure, composed by Michael Sweeney.

  Next up was the Bert Lynn Middle School Symphonic Band, conducted by Mrs. Banim. Their first piece was Buccaneers, which was composed by James Curnow. The second piece was Bellefonte Overture, composed by Robert Sheldon. Their last piece was Atlantis: The Lost Continent, composed by Rob Romeyn, which earned a standing ovation.

  The West High School Advanced Band, led by Mr. Banim, showcased their music afterwards. They played That’s Entertainment, composed by Arthur Schwartz. The band was stopped midway due to lack of communication between the conductor and the ensemble.

  That’s Entertainment was performed again, followed by Sea Glass, composed by Rick Kirby. The second piece featured soloists like Shreshta Kumar (9), playing the flute and Hayoung Ihm (9), playing the clarinet. Their pieces gained a hearty applause as former West High band director and Mr. Banim’s father, Jim Banim introduced himself to the soloists. Advanced Band then finished off with the classic Ol’ Blue Eyes, arranged by Jerry Brubaker.

  Then West High School Wind Ensemble performed closing out the festival. Their pieces were Opening Night on Broadway arranged by Michael Brown, Down in the River, composed by Jay Bocook, and The Stars and Stripes Forever, composed by John Philip Sousa. The first two pieces featured multiple soloists including Cameron Atmintinat (12) and Kenna Lipsey (12). Lipsey, a flutist, stated, “[Playing at the Festival this year] was bittersweet. Everyone did a great job and it was the best concert I could have asked for as my last one.”

  The West Area Music Festival concluded with all the bands playing Take On Me, arranged by Paul Murtha. The performances from each school have proved just how much time, effort, and dedication student musicians place into producing quality music. Brandon Irie (12) , the drum major, said, “I used to be a timid clarinet player, full of angst during the song as I waited for my solo in the piece. Now, I feel a lot more confident in my playing ability. I have learned to relax during the concerts and trust the hours of practice I have had in class and at home.”

  Not only did the West Area Music Festival bring friends, families, and a community together, but it also shared the passion of music lying within the students. Be sure to come see band perform once again at their Spring Concert on June 8 at 7 p.m.

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Christine Nguyen, Staff Writer

Christine Nguyen is a sophomore staff writer for Smoke Signals. She enjoys listening to music, reading, and dancing. She plays tennis as well as the piano...

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