Band, a good elective

What is it like being in a high school musician’s shoes?


By An Vo

The interior of H-building, home to McKinley’s musicians. Each members’ dedication ensures the success of the whole band.

An Vo

Different organizations in McKinley High School allow students to try something new or improve a skill. If you want to be part of a music group, you should join the MHS band/orchestra program.

This elective course will enhance your ability to play an instrument for those committed to becoming a better musician.

Working hard on practicing your instrument will improve your musicianship and being able to share your passion will make you feel accomplished.

Music groups are made of people cooperating to play a song. Everyone’s role is important so you must dedicate time to improving your musicianship. Band and orchestra members will assist students.

Being in a band or orchestra will help you learn how to manage your schedule. High school is harder than from middle school. There will be times when you have a busy schedule. Managing this will prepare you for adulthood.

The music program will challenge you to participate in afterschool activities such as rehearsals, concerts, and more.

Participating in a music program also enhances academics. Reading music requires learning how to keep time and learning to separate beats in a song into ½ or ¼ is related to using fractions. If you’re playing an instrument that requires air to function, then you’re learning physical science.

Being in a music group will also expand your social circle. You will be put in an instrument section. Playing music together will help you bond as you perform your tasks and take responsibility to show up whenever possible.

The conductors, Thomas Hesch and Donna Hesch, have been working with MHS for almost 20 years. The teachers and band officers, students that were chosen by the teachers to perform band-related tasks, organize monthly activities throughout the year which are meant to bond the community.

The band has unique traditions for bus rides, such as a clapping and chanting game that challenges people not to break rhythm or get tongue-tied and singing the school’s “Alma Mater” and “Black and Gold” on the way back to campus.

During football season, the band cheers for the team and play music to raise the spirits of the spectators and players and occasionally performed movements passed on by alumni as a tradition.

The Central Middle School band came and played with our band, too. When I was a student at Central Middle School, I remember playing with the McKinley band during two football games when I was still in middle school. The high school students at the time helped me understand what it was like playing in a high school band. They even allowed me to play some of their football music. After football season, the band focuses on holiday music.

The McKinley Band played Christmas music. This was when I thought: “I want to do the same things that the McKinley Band does,” which was why I continued band — because I want to play music with the band and share it with other people.

Members of the band and orchestra play different styles of music throughout the year. The band plays full pieces of music at the M.M. Scott Auditorium or for other schools or charities.

There are many other events such as the Winter Concert, Band/Orchestra Booster Craft Fair, and the Parade of Jazz Bands. These events will challenge your capabilities as a musician and allows you to improve while still having fun playing your instrument.

Finally, the band holds fundraisers for instrument care and activities such as band/orchestra trips.

The band travels to popular areas other than Hawaii such as Disneyland in Anaheim, California in 2012 (“Band and Orchestra spend a fun week in California touring sites” by Natalie Own) every three years. It’s a time when the band and orchestra can show their musical talents to people from different parts of the world. They can also make memories and new connections from around the world. The band is proud to have been invited to play at Carnegie Hall in 2016.

If you have had a year or more of experience with your chosen instrument, you should join the McKinley band or orchestra. You will gain benefits from studying music and understanding more of McKinley’s traditions.