Benicia High School Band is one of the most well-received organizations in this town, priding themselves on excellency and a strict sense of professionalism. They have collected some of the most talented groups of people, resulting in numerous awards and being able to play some of the hardest songs composed for marching band. From anything to symphonic band to percussion and piano, the BHS band is responsible for the walls lined with trophies.
School composer and band teacher, Mr. Patrick Martin, set in motion the idea for a wind ensemble concert about ten years ago. Students who play instruments from the woodwind, percussion, and brass families band together to create truly beautiful music.
The Wind Ensemble Concert, played the night of Thursday, March 22nd, took the audience on a rollercoaster of emotions. Starting with an exploration of many different type of instruments coming together, and ending with a question for the future, it was a testament to the range of the BHS band.
The first piece, aptly titled “A Thousand Passions,” starts with a simple flute melody, and gradually picks up. With the introduction of kalimba and snare drums, the music never stops trying to get you excited. Even halfway through, when the music slows itself to lend way to instruments like piano and chimes, it still has the familiar repetition of that opening flute melody. The music slowly fades as one drawn out note plays. As one last surprise, two cheerful piano notes signal the end of the song.
“I’ve never heard of a composure tiled something like Chorale and Blaspheme,” jokes Mr. Martin towards the crowd. “But it sure is blasphemous.” Chorale and Blasphemy, the second piece, is a sharp contrast compared to A Thousand Passions. It sounds like the first piece was thrown upside down. Starting with string instruments playing soberly it gradually adds more brass and wind. As we reach the halfway mark, the music swells and speeds up, and replaces that dread with a sense of contentment and urgency. It sharply with a burst of wind instruments. Although nine pieces were played, it was the first two that stand out due to their stark contrasts.
Benicia High School Band is no doubt a group of talented people; however, the seniors in band lament what little time they have left.
Sidney Haywood (10) calls to mind “being able to make music and memories and have so many shared experiences with them [the upperclassmen] is wonderful, and I’m so lucky to be able to play with them!”
“How they’re so respectful around other people, no matter what grade you’re in. You just feel really welcome with them. We call ourselves the band family… I just really look up to them now.” Sam Aguirre (9) said when asked about playing with seniors their last year.
“Being with a bunch of people that enjoys music as much as everybody else does. We all work together to be the best we can; it’s something fun since you’re selected for Wind Ensemble it’s hard to do because you’re always together and people get tired of each other but in the end it’s a rewarding thing.” Conrado Escudero (12) said, looking back on the many years he’s spent in band, and the memories that come with it.
As we near the end of the 2017-2018 school year, it was a great time to let the wind ensemble shine.