By: Hannah Jones
The Benicia High Panther Band doesn’t mess around when it comes to the holiday season. The holiday season has many band traditions that we keep alive. We always start off the season by decorating the band room so that we can build up the moral so that we can go out and spread our holiday cheer. Before December even began, the leadership team stayed after school to beautify the band room to show our huge pride for the holidays. Once our home base has been thoroughly decorated for the holidays it’s time to spread that joy around Benicia.
The first performance that we participate in is the annual Tree Lighting. This event includes many traditions starting off on the transportation down to First Street. The tradition is that the lovely Band Boosters set up a carpool that caravans downtown and drops off the students rather than everyone trying to find parking which is very nice and keeps the band moving together. But once you are a senior you get the privilege of driving yourself down or catching a ride with one of your more proactive peers. Once everyone gets down to the Capitol Building, the performance begins with the whole band playing holiday favorites like “Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer”, and “Frosty the Snowman.” This part of the performance is always fun because we get to play our favorite rock charts as a group all decked out in our festive gear while our families and friends watch; but luckily, this isn’t even the best part of the night. After Mr. Martin decides that we have hyped up the crowd enough we break off into smaller groups called caroling groups that are a tradition all by themselves. These groups are completely student run by seniors. These groups are a very good opportunity for the musicians to become more confident and really get into the music because we play music that everyone already knows which boosts everyone’s confidence. Because it is student run event, it is a unique opportunity for us to decide what we want to play and when we want to play it. In these groups we play songs like “Joy to the World” and “Away in a Manger.”
My favorite part of the event is when it is time for us to regroup back at the capitol building because instead of just walking back up the street we do it flash mob style. This year my group happened to be one of the groups farthest down the street so we joined up with another group and started playing “The Grinch” while we made our way back up the street. By the time we had added all of the groups we become a huge blob of blue music moving down the street. That is truly what I feel is the best part of the night. The Tree Lighting is definitely one of the events that we all look forward to every year because it is so much fun and we get to share our love of music with our community.
Our final spread of Holiday cheer is at the Holiday Parade. This is a really fun event too where we get to actually get to perform as a Marching Band in our hometown parade. For this event the band memorizes holiday favorites like “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “Frosty the Snowman” and “Mr. Grinch.” The best part of the parade is the additions to our normal get ups. To get into the holiday spirit and to add to our musical effect we add bells to our shoes so that is sounds like we have cymbals on the street. Another addition to our costume is our Red, White, and Blue Santa Hats that are truly one of a kind. The best song of the entire parade is “We Wish You a Jazzy Christmas” because not only does the audience get to listen to our beautiful music, we also get up close and personal and sing for them. This is really fun because we get to run out of the block in a very non-traditional fashion which makes it that much more fun.
The Band loves the holiday season and we especially enjoy spreading our joy around Benicia. Hopefully next year when you see the band participating in these holiday events you will know that we really are having as much fun as we look like we are having. Happy Holidays!!