Band’s Exhibition Performance Endures

Sophia Sartor and Hannah McDonough

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  • Attentive to the center podium drum major, Sofía Ramírez ’24 matches their conducting perfectly in order to keep the band in time. Working alongside four other drum majors, Ramírez helps lead the band through rehearsals and performances.

  • Practicing proper form, Nikhil Modak ’24 plays the flügelhorn during a run-through of the spirit show. The band later rehearsed part one of their show titled ‘Beyond the Brick,’ which opens with a solo played by Modak, set to the song ‘Yellow,’ by Coldplay.

  • Counting her rests, Maria Lomeli ’24 ensures a clean entrance into the music. Lomeli is one of three piccolos that plays in the band’s show, which draws upon elements from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and features a lively piccolo duet in the opening movement.

  • Marimba player Jonathan Chao ‘26 performs with the front ensemble. Percussion instrumentalists in the pit do not march, but help maintain rhythm as well as add a musical depth and nuance to the band through their unique sound.

  • Color guard member Nico Kanda ’25 blends artistry with technique to convey emotions pertinent to the story of the show. Visual components to the performance are enhanced with props such as flags and rifles.

  • Sprinting through a tunnel of students, Rishi Baranga ’23 smiles as he is cheered on by band upperclassmen. In addition to a blockhead, many members, including Baranga, were given candy and other additional treats.

  • Comparing blockheads, flute section leader Marina Mirabel ’23 and head drum major Ciera Kelley ’23 laugh as they wait in line to gift it to their band ‘sibling.’ Such traditions remain a crucial aspect of the ‘family’ in the band’s ‘pride, passion, family’ motto.

  • Hugging, Christian Martinez ‘26 and Zane Hyman ’25 look towards the crowd as they are met with parent applause. Fostering supportive relationships beyond rehearsal time is aided by full-program bonding such as the blockhead ceremony.

  • Excitedly receiving her blockhead, Hannah Ou ’26 meets fellow color guard member Sophia Bednarz ’24 at the end of the tunnel. Developing a close-knit, family-like dynamic begins with summer band camp, and continues throughout the fall marching season.

  • Keenly watching the blockhead ceremony, band parents wait as students finish interacting with their section leaders. Parents and other community members play a key role in galvanizing support for the program, documenting photo and video at many band functions.

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Holding a scaled-down version of their annual exhibition on Thursday, Aug. 25, the Westwood Band showcased the hard work they put in during summer band camp. Long before school started, members spent weeks perfecting marching fundamentals and learning music and drill for the upcoming season. 

“Band camp was difficult and the hours were long but in the end, we improved a lot and had a lot of fun,” Katya Murkes ‘25 said.

The band was originally set to perform for the exhibition on Aug. 19, but the event was postponed at the last minute due to weather conditions. Many band students were saddened by the last-minute cancellation.

“I was a bit disappointed about [exhibition] being canceled because it’s a great way to show off what we’ve been working on during band camp,” Rachel Zhu ‘26 said.

However, an audience still showed up to cheer the band on despite the later date and the new location in the band lot. The band ran through their spirit show, set to Feel it Still by Portugal. The Man, and performed part one of their show titled Beyond the Brick. The show takes inspiration from The Wizard of Oz and includes music by various artists such as Coldplay, Elton John, and The Rolling Stones.

“[The performance] went quite well for me,” Martina Ciacci ‘26 said. “It felt so natural to perform in front of everybody, and it really felt like the team had united at that moment in time.”

Afterward, the band carried on the tradition of upperclassmen gifting blockheads to incoming members. The ceremony is a way to welcome new band students to the program and bring the band closer together. Freshmen ran through a tunnel of upperclassmen and were greeted by their band sibling with their blockhead at the end. 

“[The Blockhead Ceremony] was pretty cool,” Adaline Boyd ‘26 said. “I’m not one for humongous ceremonies, but it was still really nice that they decided to do this all for us.”

The band also handed out letterman jackets to those who have completed two varsity seasons or met other achievements to earn one. The ceremony recognized the work put in by band students by awarding them with their letterman. 

“To be able to achieve that jacket means a lot to me,” Ciacci said. “Over the years I’ve worked so hard and I’m so glad that I’m able to get [my letterman].” 

The band still has a lot of work ahead of them, with two more parts of the show to learn. Fall marching season has only just begun, with the band set to participate in many competitions and performances in the upcoming months. 

“I’m really looking forward to this season,” Alicia Kanazawa de Figueiredo ‘25 said. “We’re doing a lot better than last year and I’m excited to see how far we can go.”