The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

The Student News Site of Burlingame High School

The Burlingame B

Band readies for Little Big Game, centennial performances

Iny Li
Band students stand in their line formations bright and early on the football field as they run through their set for the Little Big Game.

Less than two months into the school year the band is already hard at work in preparation for the culminating fall event: the annual Little Big Game (LBG), hosted at San Mateo High School this November. 

Senior Kaylee Ng, one of the two drum majors of this year, is determined to make the halftime performance perfect. But to be able to reach that level of excellence requires hours of practice and dedication every week from the band members. 

“We started during the last week of August, early in the morning before school every Wednesday, which is a huge commitment and shows how committed the band is,” Ng said. “We were also able to prepare during band camp, which was during the last week of summer, where we teach all the incoming freshmen about marching, the basics, maneuvers, and what they’re going to need in order to perform at halftime.”

But not all of the band’s attention can go toward the LBG. This year, the music program is also preparing for the school’s Centennial Celebration, a weekend-long event held on Oct. 13 and 14 that will bring notable alumni back to Burlingame to commemorate the school’s 100th anniversary.

“At first, I didn’t know I was going to be drum major when the 100-year celebration was happening,” Ng said. “But now, I realize it’s a huge honor to represent the band and be able to perform for all the alumni that previously graduated. It’d be really cool for them to see how much the band has grown as well.” 

Music director Kyoko Yamamoto emphasized that both events are part of the band’s larger effort to hone and showcase their talent.

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  • “Doing band for four years, I feel that it really just became part of my life,” Kaylee Ng said. “I made lifelong friends in that class and learning how to mesh and play with others to make sure it all sounds good really turns it into a team sport.”

  • Band student and sophomore Alexander Minakawa rehearses on his saxophone as the band finishes yet another of their morning field show practices.

“Both events are just an extension of what we already do,” Yamamoto comments. “It’s not just about preparation for this one specific event or that specific activity, but everything is all being prepared for during morning practice and class time.” 

Ng acknowledged that much of this time and effort — morning show training, in-class rehearsing and even additional practice at home — goes unnoticed by the band’s audience. 

“A lot of people don’t realize but when you’re actually watching the Little Big Game, it’s really only a two minute long show, right? But it really took hours and days and weeks and months to prepare for it,” Ng said.  

Sophomore Joshua Lim, a second-year band student who plays the trumpet, also emphasized the band’s extensive preparation for both events, specifically the centennial celebration.

“I hope the audience will not only see how well the band is able to perform and how marching band is, but how it takes a lot of preparation and practice with our 7:15 a.m. field show practices,” Lim said. “We come to school so early in the morning to make sure that this year is going to be the best year that we can make because of the centennial celebration.” 

Yamamoto has also used her connections to bring alumni and current students together for the band’s 100-year celebration.

“I reached back to the people I know who graduated here, who played in a band back in the day, and I got the admin to send info about this to the Alumni Association,” Yamamoto said. “It’s really amazing because someone who wants to play this year said they were in the 50th Anniversary picture and will buy a new clarinet to play for the 100th celebration.”

Unlike the centennial celebration, the Little Big Game needs no introduction — this signature event brings the two rival schools together for the final football matchup and students of both schools fill the stands with spirit and cheer. 

“Of course, San Mateo High is known to be the better band and all, but we play louder,” senior Keziah Gopolla, a four-year band student, said. “We are more energetic, and we’re overall better. Our feelings will show and our energy will really make it fun.”

Beyond one performance or song, Ng hopes to shift the culture around band participation at Burlingame.

“As a whole, as a band, I want to defeat stereotypes that come with being in a band that I’m sure many are aware of when going into high school culture,” Ng said. “At any of our events, we just want to make sure negative stereotypes are defeated and that band is a really cool thing to join.”

Ng has made intentional decisions as drum major to highlight the significance of band beyond playing instruments at school events. 

“Especially with Little Big Game, this year we chose music from two very powerful female artists, Taylor Swift and Beyonce, which, coming from a band with the only female director in the district, we want to bring attention to female artists and people just as powerful as Ms. Yamamoto,” Ng said.  

For Lim, Gopolla and Ng, band has been an integral part of their time at Burlingame and a way of creating lifelong friendships and memories. 

“Band has been one of the best things in my high school experience because of how amazing the community is,” Gopolla said. “We go through early morning practice together, we go through Little Big Game together, and having that tight-knit community has made it just an amazing experience overall.” 

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About the Contributor
Iny Li, Staff Reporter
Iny Li is a sophomore at Burlingame High School who is thrilled to explore journalism as a first-year! She plays badminton for the school team and enjoys reading, listening to music, and crocheting. Her deep interest in journaling and creative writing are what has driven her to join journalism. She looks forward to improving her literary skills and meeting new people along the way.
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