The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Celebrate the Music promotes community

Erik Cheng
Large crowds gather to watch Carlmont students and other local schools perform at Celebrate the Music.

A large audience crowded Twin Pines Park to witness the 18th annual Celebrate the Music Festival, formerly known as Save the Music.

The festival took place on April 24, when school music programs and local musicians gathered for a performance to showcase the importance of music.

The chair and music coordinator for the festival, Alan Sarver, worked alongside his team of planners for six months to ensure that the event ran as smoothly as possible. 

The festival intends to raise money and awareness for the school music programs and spotlight the numerous local musicians in the Belmont-Redwoodshores area. All admission and carnival ticket sales are sent straight to the local schools and music programs.  

Starting in 2002, Sarver worked tirelessly to guarantee the equal representation of all programs in the large venue, Twin Pines Park. The park allows easy transportation for the performers and places the event in the center of Belmont to attract more festival-goers. 

“It’s a festival mostly for the general public since it’s held in an open area next to City Hall,” Carlmont sophomore Kyle Maher said.

The festival works on a tight schedule, with new performances cycling through the stage quickly to keep the audience engaged. (Erik Cheng)

Maher performed in the symphonic band and “Battle of the Band” concerts. For performers like Maher, the event commenced at 11:30 a.m. However, the preparation began in the fall of 2021.

“This is a grand tradition and a major festival for our community. At this point, people expect the ceremony to run a certain way,” Sarver said. 

According to Switzer, Celebrate the Music offers music students the opportunity to perform in a more relaxed environment.

“Normally, at our concerts, we wear tuxedos and gowns. There are bright lights, and it’s broadcasted live,” Switzer said. “At the park, we want to be more casual. The students should have fun presenting high-quality music to the community and open their eyes to our music and performances.”

This sense of a celebration rather than a demonstration of music is also highly valued by the students. Greta Leeb, a symphonic band performer and a junior at Carlmont, has many years of experience playing at the festival and appreciates its support for her fascination with music. 

My biggest goal is to foster and help nurture a love for the music-making process and all that it entails,

— Brian Switzer

“I think music promotes cooperation, teamwork, and work ethic because I feel like I have to practice every day,” Leeb said. “I’m really glad the festival exists because the schools need more fundraising for music. And of course, I enjoy playing with the band, and performing is always really fun.”

Celebrate the Music remains a fun event and not a stressful experience for Carlmont musicians because they had already built a strong foundation for the pieces that they played. For example, compositions such as Emperata Overture and Fantasy on a Japanese Folk Song had been practiced and performed before the festival.

The smaller Stanford marching band entertains the crowd with their expertise and dazzling wardrobe. “I originally thought that the Stanford band was a bunch of Stanford students that liked to play music, but I was wrong. Even though they were a group of 50 students, the volume they were able to create was ginormous, and it filled the entire open area,” Carlmont sophomore Kyle Maher said. (Erik Cheng)

“We’ve been working on them for months. The fourth piece we played at the festival was from our winter concert, and we haven’t played it since. The day before the festival, we played half the piece, then I just trusted the students’ muscle memory and home practice would kick in, and they performed it for the first time since December,” Switzer said.

Many other music groups performed at Celebrate the Music, including Carlmont’s pep band, a collection of music students who play shorter pieces for more casual events. The pep band collaborated with Stanford’s marching band to produce the “Battle of the Bands.” Although the title suggests a competition, Switzer believes that the performance with Stanford’s band was not a contest but a learning experience for his students.

“It’s through music you learn how to create a positive culture. It’s about working together, and the better we work together, the better the end result will be,” Switzer said. 

In addition to the music, the festival hosted a variety of activities and booths that promoted local organizations. Food trucks served a medley of different foods for the visitors to enjoy.

The various booths encourage involvement in music and provide entertainment through carnival games while promoting awareness for smaller organizations and movements in the larger Belmont community. (Erik Cheng)

Justin Cooperman and his wife Erika Cooperman brought their kids to the festival to get them more involved and engaged with music. 

“I wasn’t expecting it to be so big. There are a lot of activities here, and the food is good,” Justin Cooperman said. “Previously, we attended other festivals, and they don’t always cater to the kids. But our son loves it here, and that’s great. It’s nice to have him have a chance to enjoy the activities.

Additionally, through music festivals such as Celebrate the Music, parents like Justin Cooperman and Erika Cooperman feel more inclined to expose their children to music.

“This is something we want our kids involved in as they get a little older,” Erika Cooperman said.

To sustain this community engagement, Sarver and his team of volunteers plan on continuing to host the festival every year.

“To me, the opportunity to be a part of this festival for all these years has been one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Sarver said. “To feel that I’ve contributed to helping these students at all these different levels, move forward in their music, and bring this kind of joy to the community is such a great honor and privilege to have.”

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
About the Contributor
Erik Cheng
Erik Cheng, Scot Scoop Managing Editor
Erik Cheng (Class of 2024) enjoys camping, backpacking, cooking, and photography. He currently serves as Managing Editor of Scot Scoop but continues to explore his passion for discovering local stories and investigation. You can find him discovering new communities in the area, hiking up mountains, desperately trying not to burn down his parents' kitchen, working at REI, or taking photos of the local flora and fauna. View his portfolio here.

Comments (0)

We invite comments and responses to our content. Comments that are deemed appropriate and relevant will be published.
All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
Celebrate the Music promotes community