Students Jam With Mozart

When people hear about student bands, their minds often jump to visions of teenagers banging drums and practicing guitars in their garages. Rarely do they imagine elegant quartets and jazz ensembles practicing on saxophones, flutes and violins. For many students, however, this second image represents a much more common reality than the stereotypical teenage garage band. In addition to being involved in the school’s orchestra, symphonic band or wind ensemble, many students continue to pursue their musical passions outside of school by forming their own groups.

Students among this number include senior Sam Vesuna, who plays trombone with an on-campus chamber brass ensemble that includes senior Charles Olaires on trumpet, juniors Max Butensky and Mo McBirney, playing tuba and french horn, respectively, and sophomore Johan Mickos, who plays trumpet.

The brass ensemble began playing last year. Although they only met a couple of times, Sam hopes that the ensemble will be much more active this year.

“You’d think most people like CDs, but there’s something about live bands that a lot of people in the community like,” Sam said.

Max, who joined the quintet this year, agreed that being a part of the quintet has helped him “learn how to tune in a bunch of different skills.”

“We can really learn from each other,” Max said.

Another on-campus ensemble is the orchestral chamber quartet formed by sophomores Bryan Cassella, Angela Liu, Anne Kim and Diana Chou. The group started playing together two years ago.

“It’s like another whole feeling,” Anne said. “You get to play pieces you want to play. It feels like I can try to do stuff with more than just the music.”

The quartet meets weekly to practice its pieces. Bryan plays cello, while Anne plays flute and Angela and Diana play violin. Instead of only playing at school concerts, they hope to volunteer their musical services elsewhere and have scheduled appointments to play at two local senior homes.

According to school music director Ted Ferrucci the school has had a history of small musical groups, although the number depends on the year.

“It fosters student leadership and creativity,” Ferrucci said. “I like to let them take the artistic, creative path and steer them in them in the direction of jobs, if that’s what they’re interested in.”

Music can be more than just lyrics, just notes, it can be an undying passion.