Benstein’s Finale Celebrates Legacy


Natalie Li, Staff Writer

This year’s Spring Instrumental Concert celebrated the culmination of Harvey Benstein’s 15-year reign as Campo’s Music Director. Held on May 18, the Orchestra and Jazz, Symphonic, and Concert Bands united in performance.

Looking back over his years of teaching, Benstein said, “The concert is about students making music together and demonstrating what they have learned from rehearsals and the overall process. For those students doing their personal best, it was very rewarding.”

Music student Archie Hwang said, “I’ve had Mr. Benstein for all four years at Campo and since it was the last concert, I felt some pressure to do well. Although some parts we were rushing, I thought we were able to pull it off and I think we did very well.”

Junior Hae-lin Kim also gave some insight on preparing for the concert. She said, “You have to play not as if this is the last concert but instead, play as if this is any other concert since it will go on even if the conductor changes.”

In addition, upperclassmen in each of the groups were recognized for their contributions to the music programs over the years. Three students received Senior Awards which honor musical achievements and are voted on by their peers: Athan Gousious received the Louis Armstrong Award for Jazz; Annie Carlson received the National School Orchestra Award for Orchestra; and Parker Hasler received the John Philip Sousa Band Award for Symphonic Band.

One of the highlights of the concert was “Rhapsody in Blue,” by composer George Gershwin, featuring junior Annie Guo performing a piano solo. Since she was the winner of this year’s Concerto Competition, this opportunity to solo in a recorded public performance served as her reward. Benstein said, “Since the Concerto Competition winner is usually a senior and Annie is only a junior, the performance was extra special.”

Guo said, “During my performance I tried to play my best. I felt a little different going on stage since I was playing for myself and the band but also Mr. Benstein [since it was his last concert]. I was getting a little emotional toward the end of the song since I’ve been playing under him for 3 years.”

Benstein received various gifts such as a trip to the San Francisco Symphony, a Southwest gift card, and a scrapbook of personalized notes from his students. He said, “I really appreciate everyone’s thoughtfulness and will keep all parents and students in mind when enjoying the gifts. It is very nice that they took the time to give me a gift; I am very pleased.”

Benstein leaves his position with a few words: “I thank the hundreds of talented and hard working students who have developed and shared their musical gifts and talents. I wish you a lifelong journey of music making, appreciation, and support.”