Band Buddies connects with the younger generation

George Wang, Staff writer

Band Buddies hosted its annual concert after a three-year hiatus caused by the pandemic at the Performing Arts Center (PAC) Friday April 14, celebrating its 10th anniversary. 

The event featured over 115 fifth-grade band members from elementary schools around the district, such as Collegewood, CJ Morris, Vejar, Westhoff and Walnut Elementary. Together with the Band Buddies mentors, they had weeks of practice and rehearsals to prepare for the performance. Participants also received 10-year anniversary t-shirts and snacks during the rehearsals.  

“I think that Band Buddies is both about helping the kids with music and trying to inspire them to do band and just love music,” clarinetist freshman Keegan Beecher said. “We give them an environment in which they can practice and be around great role models.”

According to Beecher, being a mentor for the younger generation is being able to become a role model and inspire them to continue music, whether in high school or beyond.

“When I did Band Buddies as a fifth grader, my buddy was truly my hero and I wanted to do everything that he did. So I think it is our job as high schoolers to set that good example for them,” Beecher said. 

Over the past five weeks, mentors worked with elementary students, giving them tips on playing their instrument with proper rhythm and hand placement. Often the practice sessions would last up to two hours, where they performed pieces like “The Circle of Life ” from Lion King and “Go Go Go,” a pep tune used for warm up. 

“Working with [mentees] has been a new experience and it could be a little bit difficult to get their attention sometimes because they’re kids,” trumpist senior Alyssa Morales said. “But I think you just have to be very patient. Sometimes you get frustrated but you have to realize that they’re not at the maturity level we are at.” 

In addition to the concert, there was also a pre-concert celebration, where free food, drinks and performances were provided. There were hotdogs, popcorn, cotton candy, lemonade, shaved ice, games and prizes to celebrate the 10-year anniversary.

“I hope this event can make a difference in their lives and inspire them to continue music in the future and see how much fun the music program is,” trumpist senior Sameer Chowdhury said. “Music can bring people from around the world together and hopefully it can positively impact these kids.”