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How PV’s Performers Enjoyed Winter, and What to Expect Next…

Tyler Smith

Music thrives all year round at Pleasant Valley High School. With a variety of classes, such as different types of choir, concert band, wind ensemble, jazz ensemble,guitar and piano classes, as well as additional or complimentary extracurriculares like winter percussion and winter guard, it’s no surprise that even when there weren’t any competitions or performances, our local musicians still kept busy in the wintertime. The fall semester was a busy one for PV’s Music Department, with performances at football games and rallies, outings at local businesses and neighborhoods, and unforgettable concerts. Now, after a quiet handful of months where most of the music department was busy practicing in the warm indoors, the fresh spring weather means that many of our musicians and performers get to enjoy themselves once again. 

One example of this was jazz band’s trip to Folsom back in January. Kayla Tyson, one of jazz band’s bassists and also a member of PV Choir, says her favorite thing about being in the band is that she “get[s] to be in a community of like minded people who both love playing their instrument and the genre of jazz”, as well as it being an “awesome group” where people “can bond over music and spread their love for it to others.” She looks back fondly on the Folsom jazz festival, a “competition between other high school jazz bands and smaller jazz combos”, with other performances from collegiate and professional level groups.The competitions featured a performance of three songs by each school, followed by each band having a “30 minute clinic with one of the judges.” PV’s jazz band received 3 medals, and 2 medals for their jazz combo. After performing, they “got to watch and talk to other schools and professional groups,” and as the weather warms up, they can look forward to more spring performances from Pleasant Valley’s jazz band and choir. 

Of course, when talking about bands in the winter, one can never leave out winter percussion. Bella Austin, is in PV’s “wind ensemble, jazz ensemble, marching band and winter percussion,”she says “[she] always been into music (her) whole life.” She started piano at 3, and states, “cannot remember not knowing how to read or play music.” According to Bella, “winter percussion is similar to marching band but consists solely of percussion instruments and takes place indoors. “It features the mallet instruments (like the marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, glockenspiel), “a synth if called for, a bass, and auxiliary percussion”. She also says the “marchers are called the ‘battery’”, in which the instruments are harnessed onto the performer’s bodies so that they can play and move at the same time (just like marching band). Fitting the title of winter percussion, the “battery” consists of 4-5 bass drums, snare drummers, and tenor drums (also known as quads). They then “take (their) show to various winter percussion competitions in northern california and eventually go on to championships.” For example, last year, the CUSD winter percussion team got second place at one of their competitions, a “big win” for them, since they had only started the program the year prior. In the future, Bella is expecting winter percussion to overall improve as an ensemble, stating they’ve “already come a long way from [their] start to placing at a competition.” A personal goal for her is to “place first in at least one competition” before she graduates, and for the group to eventually have access to

more funding. Ultimately, winter percussion is working hard to “create a good show” so they can “put their best foot forward” this March.

Finally, winter percussion happens during the same time of year as winter guard, color guard’s “winter alter-ego”. CC Cooprider, a freshman and active member of Winter Guard and Color Guard, and was inspired to join them because of not just how fun it looked, but also “how fun it is to perform and to interact with other people.” According to CC, they’re usually busy during practice and their shows, when they come up with a song that matches a theme, then design their own choreography for said song and perform it at their yearly competition. Some of their props include flags, plastic performance rifles, and sabres, or prop swords. In the coming weeks, winter guard will be competing in March and April at different schools across the northern California area, such as Rosemont High on arch 10th, Antelope High School on March 16th, and March 23rd at Elk Grove High.

Kayla Tyson [ The attached photos are used with permission from the band teacher from Tyler Smith’s website, which can be found here:   All photos are of the Folsom Jazz Festival. ]  
[ The attached photos are used with permission from the band teacher from Tyler Smith’s website, which can be found here:   All photos are of the Folsom Jazz Festival. ]    

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About the Contributor
Alexis Oliver
Alexis Oliver, Editor-in-Chief
A junior at Pleasant Valley High School, Alexis Oliver is joining the Saga Newspaper this year to further her passion in all things language. Studying Spanish, Japanese, and American Sign Language, Alexis loves linguistics and enjoys reading books and writing poetry and short stories in her free time, as well as dabbling in gardening and giving back to the community via volunteering. Hoping to pursue linguistics into adulthood, Alexis plans on teaching English across the world, and continuing to teach languages upon her return to the U.S.

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