By Jada Fife '20
Let’s go back, way back to 2013 when I first joined the Close instrumental community. Before my sixth grade year I decided to switch music lessons from my one at Beauvoir to Mr. Garay, who teaches percussion at STA. In seventh grade, I joined Orchestra as a percussionist as a part of my arts requirement. As a freshman, I joined Jazz Band since Mr. Garay was the one that ran it. Finally, in the winter of my sophomore year, I was “strongly urged” by Lawson Karppi ‘19 to join the pit band for the Upper School musical. In other words, I was mostly forced into instrumental music on the Close.
Consequently, all of these experiences have allowed me the tremendous pleasure of witnessing the occasionally cacophonous mess that is our performing arts program on the Close; and its seemingly natural inclination to shaft instrumental music, especially the smaller groups. Whether through performance opportunities, outreach, or student engagement, the orchestra and other instrumental music often is left in the dust by the Close’s singing programs. The orchestra’s performances are often overshadowed by those of the Chorale; Jazz Band is dwarfed by the number of singing groups on the Close; and the musical’s Pit Band is usually visually obscured by some sort of wall or screen.
Despite of all this, there are still incredible students who are passionate about instrumental music here. They put in the time and effort to make harmony out of the disjointed notes our schools often hand us. Out of these hardships and mild annoyances arises a small, but mighty, supportive community of musicians, united around complaining about boring and difficult pieces and orchestra memes, that I love and will forever be grateful that I was pressured to join.
The Percussion Section's Biggest Fan
3/5/2019 09:43:56 pm
You absolutely killed it on the drums in the musical, Jada! I'm very glad that you got to do more than sit in the corner and play the tambourine this year. The pit band members are unsung heroes, and the music for Titanic was extremely challenging, especially given the limited rehearsal time. You guys did a phenomenal job and were an integral part of what made this year's musical production so great!
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