Band’s busy season concludes with Winter Concert

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Daria Burnosova

Kyoko Yamamoto leads the Concert Band in a variety of songs, such as “Encanto” and “A Disney Spectacular,” in the Winter Concert on Dec. 7.

Abby Knight, Staff Reporter

The Wind Ensemble, Concert Band, Choir and Jazz Ensemble showcased their talent in the 99th annual Winter Concert, held in the Burlingame auditorium on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Every band performed a wide variety of songs, ranging from holiday classics such as “Jingle Bells” and “Winter Wonderland” to hits from well-known soundtracks like  “A Disney Spectacular” and “West Side Story.”

“I think it’s definitely great when people come to the Winter Concert to just show support for the band,” said senior and band president Ana Spano, who plays flute for Wind Ensemble.

Because the band plays at many school events, they can seem like an appendage to the athletic or theater programs. However, the Winter Concert flips the script, placing the musical department directly in the spotlight.

“Our musicians play so much for the other programs. The marching band plays for the athletics program. Our musicians played with the theater program during the musical times,” Yamamoto said. “And at any school events, the rally, back to school night, open house.”

The Jazz Ensemble, however, has had more opportunities to showcase their work, participating in two jazz festivals this fall, one at Hillsdale High School and the other at College of San Mateo (CSM). San Mateo High School, Mills High School, Aragon High School and Hillsdale High School also performed at the Hillsdale High School festival, and other non-district schools attended the CSM festival.

The Jazz Ensemble played three songs at both festivals: “La Fiesta”, “Stella” and “Sweet Georgia Brown”.

Courtesy of SMUHSD Jazz Festival

“I just really wanted our students to be heard,” said Kyoko Yamamoto, music and choral director. “And then at the end of the day, also have that experience to grow as a performer.”

The festivals allowed the Jazz Ensemble to showcase what they’ve learned and worked on so far in the semester. 

“It’s always something to look forward to and something to work towards,” said senior Katherine Jankowski, who plays tenor saxophone for Jazz Ensemble.

The festivals offer an opportunity for Burlingame students to interact and learn from fellow high school musicians, fostering a local music community.

“It allows us to meet members of other jazz bands, and learn about what they’re playing,” said sophomore Lucas Keeley, who plays piano for Jazz Ensemble. “That community connection is really important.”

Feedback from judges after their performance will help the Jazz Ensemble to improve and practice for their spring festival.

Both the jazz festivals and the Winter Concert not only bring holiday spirit to Burlingame, but give students the opportunity to present what they have learned so far this year.

“I would say it’s a fun experience to play for all of our families and have them hear what we’ve been working on,” Spano said.

After a lively and festive performance, parents of the band members sold snacks and baked goods to reach their $13,000 goal of fundraising for their Disneyland trip next semester.

These events would not have been possible without Andrew Speight, a renowned jazz instructor and significant contributor to the band program. Speight passed away in a car crash on Dec. 1. He was 58.