alt music club

Alternative music club recreates throwbacks


Freshman Nathaniel Porral rehearses a drum section to get familiar with a song’s rhythm. “We’re here to make music and to relieve stress as well,” Porral said.

Piecing together a song | Freshman Nathaniel Porral rehearses a drum section to get familiar with a song’s rhythm. “We’re here to make music and to relieve stress as well,” Porral said.

Three different people, three different instruments, three different arts students with the same burning passion for music. In the isolating environment of distance learning, the Alternative Music Club manages to bring people together through their passion for the arts. 

As in its name, the Alternative Music Club provides an alternative for music students seeking an additional channel of artistic expression. The newly-created club includes representatives from several arts organizations at Walnut High School, like choir, symphonic band, symphonic orchestra and marching band.

“It’s really different from just normal academic courses. You get to have fun with your group members and listen to music that you enjoy,” pianist freshman Kaelin David said. “I think the musical aspect of it when you get to collaborate with different people from different backgrounds is really cool. I’m really intrigued by learning about new people, not just in regards to their instrument, but personally. It’s nice to form new connections.”

Since students are unable to perform music together in-person, their private teachers and organization advisers are encouraging them to join additional music-related extracurricular activities like the Alternative Music Club to supplement their education. 

“I joined to [meet] the requirements [my teacher set],” drummer freshman Nathan Porral said. “In order for me to expand how well I can play, I need to join a [club] and talk to people who can relate to me with music. You’re not [expected to] succeed [because] we’re just here to make music. It’s a nice way to relieve stress as well.” 

Distance learning gave students access to additional digital resources like Soundtrap, which is provided by the school. The members of the Alternative Music Club use these softwares to explore different genres of music, producing covers of popular songs with different instrument combinations. 

“With the pandemic, it’s definitely been a little more difficult [to collaborate],” David said. “But I think it’s a really cool experience to be able to work with editing programs, be able to have individual parts and combine them into one really nice product.”

The members each bring to the club their unique musical talents, gained from their involvement in arts organizations through the years. This variety in musical talent gives the club flexibility in choosing different arrangements for songs.

“Personally, I wanted to start [the club] because I don’t play those classical instruments.” president freshman Aya Celine Angeles said. “The learning experience [means that] you’re going to struggle. If you are able to persevere through that, I think that’s really something else.”

In their musical pursuits, the Alternative Music Club covers a wide range of music genres, mainly songs from the 60s to the 90s. They meet through Zoom every Friday between 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. to brainstorm ideas for song covers. 

“[Music] isn’t just something you listen to. If you listen to the melody and the lyrics and how each part is broken up, [you] see how much time, effort and the feelings artists put into it,” Angeles said. “If you think about all that and let that envelop you, it really moves you.” 

The club’s members listen to each other’s advice when working on their covers. They consider parts the other members would have to play as well as their own. The teamwork and coordination allow the club to develop a better understanding of each other’s role in the music. 

“We all get to give our own opinion about certain parts of songs,” Porral said. “I can say ‘This song has a really cool beat to it,’ then someone else can say, ‘Wait, but this part is too easy,’ and then that’s when we can discuss and think.” 

The club members take it upon themselves to use each other’s knowledge to their advantage. They practice different musical techniques and improve on their craft.

“The club’s overall goal is to pick up new techniques, create music and explore new genres, but most importantly, being able to work as a team or band,” Angeles said. “You are able to pick up [musical knowledge] if you’re doing it by yourself, but in a band, you have to learn to coordinate with [other] members. [By doing this, you] learn something new, but in a different kind of way.”

Not only does the club offer a platform to showcase each of the member’s talents, but it also allows members to expand on the passions they are pursuing through school arts organizations.

“[The club] is a good way for me to finally take something that I’ve learned for a long time [and put it to] a cause. For most of my experience learning music, I never showed people,” Porral said. “Now I get to play with people [and] show people what I’ve been doing in my garage in the dark. I get to now show people what I’ve improved on.”

By Rikka Tagayuna, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of  Nathaniel Porral