All District Music Festival brings musicians together

Galilea Avina, Staff Reporter

The annual All District Music Festival has come again this school year. Music pieces that are college-level were being played by middle school kids from Art Freiler, George Kelly, Monte Vista Middle School, Williams Middle School and North Elementary School. High schools Kimball High, Tracy High and West High participated.

When walking into the band room before the concert started, it was very noticeable that students, even after months of practice during class time, after school practice and even getting signed off by their other teachers to practice a couple of hours during school, were taking the time to refine their skills and just overall making sure they were nailing their parts. Students were then asked to line up according to what instrument they played and head into the gym where parents and visitors were waiting.

The event started with music supervisor of Tracy Unified School District Mr. Thomas Renner, one of the conductors, giving an introduction and thanking Superintendent Dr. Brian Stephens, superintendent, for making the night possible. The band played “Star- Spangled Banner” and the choir sang along. Once the song finished, Renner began to announce monetary awards that are sponsored by Main Street Music, Inc. that are for the middle school kids who have stood out to their teachers and will continue music in high school. Renner personally handed out the awards to the students and they proceeded to shake hands with him and Dr. Stephens.

The first song that was played was “Waltz of the Wicked,” performed by the combined string orchestra and conducted by our very own music instructor Mr. Jonathan Raman. Another song that is quite worthy of mentioning is “Melodious Thunk” conducted by Williams music director Mr. David Villa. This song is a college-level piece that a lot of middle and high school students with a lot of practice and patience were able to pull off that night. The song that was given to orchestra, choir and band to play together, conducted by Renner was “Alexander Nevsky: The Battle on the Ice” as the grand finale.

The time and practice that were being taken advantage of by the student musicians were clearly reflected during the concert, as proven by the proud parents, teachers and visitors cheering in the bleachers. It takes plenty of time, passion and courage to be able to perform a music piece in front of hundreds of people. When asked to describe the rigor that it took to prepare the students, Raman says, “The general expectation is that kids go home and practice. Then, they bring all that back and we see what we need to fix as individuals or as in sections. So, they’re not just playing one note for themselves; they actually know what it means to be able to play as a whole team. My job is to make sure they’re connecting.” Raman continues to explain that it’s not just noise, and “it’s not just for kicks and giggles.”

Many students respect and enjoy the music program. Freshman Aria Jacinto shares her thoughts, “Band is the only class where I feel like I can completely express myself. Mr. Raman encourages us to use music to project our emotions, and I think all of us can benefit from that.” Music is more than noise, just like Jacinto said; one can benefit from music. If anyone wants to join music, it is encouraged that they do. Contact Mr. Raman in K2 by the quad.