Area Concert Promotes Music Opportunities


Kate Ginley, Staff Writer

In an effort to showcase the range of music programs offered at elementary, middle and high schools of Moraga, concerts that brought together students from all grade levels of music instruction were coordinated and performed the week of April 6.

Campolinfo instrumental music director Johnny Johnson said, “We are calling it the Area Concert. So the Moraga Area, we have three of them [choir, band, orchestra] so the Moraga Area Choir concert, Moraga Area band concert, and the Moraga Area Orchestra concert. It’s meant to display the full sweep of each of those programs from when a student enters the program from fifth or fourth grade all the way up through Campolindo when they graduate.”

Freshman Bridgette Jia said, “The Moraga area concerts is where students from fifth grade to high school play together.”

Johnson said the concert was not really a collaboration. “We never get to spend time together so everything was on the fly. So we had never played that piece,” Johnson said.

They worked on it separately, we worked on it separately, but the collaboration was at the moment of the performance which was kind of amazing,” Johnson explained.

Freshman choir student Athya Uthayakumar said, “Concerts like this show that hard work yields results, something extremely valuable to aspiring singers.”

“Mr. Roberts also says often that the voice is like any other instrument. It takes hard work to be good. Like the band and orchestra concerts, technique is like, demonstrated for the younger kids to motivate them to continue choir,” Uthayakumar explained.

Jia added, “You get to see a large varied group of kids and there are kids doing different instruments and kids doing different vocals/singing. There are different instrumentations that appeal to different personalities as well. So you get to work with all those personalities and see how big the range of instruments is and what we can do with it.”

Acalanes and Stanley have been doing this kind of collaborative, local concert for the past few years, but due to CPAC renovations last year, the Moraga Area Concert had to wait. “They are hard to do and hard to organize and you need to find space to do it. Our calendar was [filled with] a lot of activity. It can be done in a gym but we didn’t want to do it in a gym so we took a little extra time to carve out some time to be in the CPAC. Last year it wasn’t available because of the renovation and that was my first year. So that was how long it took to finally get to those nights,” Johnson said.

Part of the intent of the concerts is to provide a concrete demonstration of the progression of instruction and achievement that students of the Moraga school systems enjoy. Johnson said, “One of the audiences is the younger kids and what’s in their future. It’s to provide inspiration for those kids. The other one is those parents, especially instrumental families that made an investment in an instrument. And when a kid first starts playing it sounds awful and they’re like, ‘oh my gosh.’ And so it’s [the concert] to show those parents that ‘Hey, when your ten year old is 18, that’s what they’re gonna sound like.’ It’s to show that it’s worth it, so keep investing in your kid.”

Jia added, “I think parents would really enjoy that because they’d be like “My kid is making music! It’s great!” I think they would also be able to see where this child could go with their instrumentation or whatever they are playing. Parents, when they sign their kid up for this, have to rent an instrument, and have to pay for private lessons and all that. They’re not really sure where the money is going, and they’re like, ‘What’s my kid going to do with that?’ So they really get a chance to see what their kid can do with it.”

Junior Maya Bulos said, “We are trying to reach out to the kids and how they can improve over the years and what they can look forward too coming to Campo.”

Johnson said, “As a high school teacher, it’s like looking back in time. If I can get a hook of inspiration into [someone] my hope is that it all would continue. It’s special for me to see that full sweep of the impact we make in so many families lives. And then when all the kids combine that’s really cool. And the band kids, they all played ‘America, the Beautiful’ so it was just this big wall of sound playing and the stage was full of kids and it was just amazing. It was a really special thing to see that.”

Johnston believes that the concert was just a much a benefit to the experienced students as it was for the newcomers. “They don’t remember what it is was like when they started out so that provides a look back for them,” he said.

“I know that in elementary school, you have to play an instrument or sing and its growing definitely, and since we have this concerts now, we can really develop it more,” Jia explained. “The music program is getting a lot larger which is really nice. I was there when the music program was starting up and it wasn’t really developed and they had this optional instrument sign-up for fourth and fifth graders and I did it in fourth grade but then I stopped in fifth grade because I wasn’t really into it. So i feel like if I had concerts to show how far I’d really go, I’d probably continued that and had an extra two or three years off experience on my resume.”

Bulos is glad of this improvement. “Music is really beneficial to learning. It endorses teamwork and also playing instruments is a really good hobby to have,” she said.

Bulos thinks the performance was successful in promoting the high school program. “I really think they are going to look forward to coming to Campo because they really get to see what we’re doing. And they know we are going to Chicago, and they know this is a really good music program, and they’re going to be really excited to work their way up into it.”

Junior Brian Han said, “Overall it was a great performance, everyone had fun, and I’m happy about it. I think it will definitely leave a good reputation and leave a good mark on Campo.”