Pep band rallies Carlmont staff and students

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Yebom Yang

A saxophone player plays with pep band during an assembly.

Music is an essential part of an event, and when played live, it is especially unique. 

The pep band is one of the numerous musical ensembles at Carlmont High School, and they frequently perform during school assemblies and football games. 

With their lively tunes and a mainstream music-filled playlist, the band raises the crowd’s spirits to add excitement to the event. 

“All wind instruments and percussion from every ensemble join and play together. We help provide background music so people can feel comfortable to cheer loudly,” Maine Bilardello, a sophomore trumpet player, said.

With over 200 members, the band consists of a variety of students, including those who joined to earn credits, appreciate the community, enjoy playing, or pursue a passion for music. 

“I started playing in 5th grade and kept going because it was fun to learn new songs. I like the community of the band because when we are playing, everyone is having fun, and more importantly, allowing others to have fun, which is needed after a long break like quarantine,” Michael Yi, a senior tenor saxophonist, said.

According to Brian Switzer, Carlmont’s music director, the band works hard to “shape the subtleties of the sound” while also fostering opportunities for students to grow. More experienced players act as role models, teaching incoming first-year students directly. One senior even conducted at the recent homecoming football game in place of Switzer. 

“In any style of music, the music helps shape culture. Big music creates a really vibrant atmosphere and energy. It floats through the air, changing every molecule. That is an opportunity for us to help create culture through music and the friendship and connection of all of these students going across all grades,” Switzer said.

After hearing the tunes the ensemble worked hard to perfect, many attending students responded with positive feedback. 

“I think it adds to school spirit because having music playing brings up the game’s energy, and it gives pep bands more recognition,” Kellie McGuinness, a junior, said.  

Pep band has developed technically and culturally into a stage where a more creative outlook is possible. 

“Now, with some really advanced players, we can start to push to play music that’s a little more challenging and complicated, but we’ll have more fire and spice. It’s really fun that they can just blow off steam and really let it rip,” Switzer said.