The Issaquah High School Band presented their Spring Concert on June 1, showcasing their incredible talent. The musicians performed their songs and put on a fantastic show, led by their band director, Patrick Holen. Prior to the event, Holen stated, “Preparing for concerts is very complicated. There are a lot of moving parts just to get a show off the ground because we have a percussion class and we have to coordinate with all the other bands. I am very excited and think the students are very prepared!”
After their December concert in 2019, the bands were finally able to perform altogether after the COVID period. The students put in several months of practice and hard work to learn their pieces, something evident throughout their performances. Performer Hana Hamrah stated, “Prepping for the concert was a lot of hard work and a lot of commitment, with countless early Wednesday morning rehearsals and continuously practicing the songs for more than three months in advance.” The performance involved three different bands: Concert, Symphonic, and Wind Ensemble.
The event began with the Concert Band performing the “Carnegie Anthem,” and proceeding on to “Pantheon.” Their section of the show ended with some selections from “My Neighbor Totoro.” The closing song had a track that played on the projector screen in addition to the music, offering a great visual. The track, edited by Sophie Leong, was an excellent asset to the piece since it matched the pace of the music as it sped up and slowed down. The visuals helped to tell a terrific story and made the overall Concert Band performance entertaining to watch.
The program then transitioned to the Symphonic Band performance. “Exhale,” “A West Side Story Medley,” and highlights from the “Mamma Mia! Movie Soundtrack” were among the songs they performed. The audience loved their performances, especially the ones from “Mamma Mia!” Anagha Rao, a member of the audience stated, “They all performed really well! It was very fun to listen to and the Mamma Mia piece was my favorite. I thought all the songs were well done and I really enjoyed coming to listen to the concert!” The musicians were accompanied by three singers from the Choir department, Emma Bishop, Reagan Magee, and Elizabeth Dean, for the “Mamma Mia!” pieces. In addition, the senior girls in the band performed a dance for the closing bit of the piece when they played “Dancing Queen.” It was a musical-style performance, and it was obvious that it was one of the most enjoyed pieces of the night.
The Wind and Percussion Ensemble took the stage after the Symphonic Band. They performed four songs: the opening number from “Pineapple Poll,” “Kyiv, 2022,” “Havana Nights,” and “Brazil: Ceremony, Song and Samba.” This group of musicians was also a lot of fun to watch because they played a mix of soft and upbeat songs. The audience erupted in applause and cheers during the last Samba segment, which was also their final song of the night, ending the show with a standing ovation. Performer Grace Shigeyama stated, “Being a part of the Concert Band and the Percussion section was really cool, and I was able to learn more about specific instruments that before, I did not even really know the name of.”
In between each group of performances, the event included recognition of some outstanding performers and the graduating class. One student from each band received a plaque in one of three categories: most inspirational, most achieved, and director’s award. The seniors were also presented with flowers and meaningful remarks from Holen. Some of the seniors had put together small gifts for their directing leaders throughout the year, flooding the room with emotion and gratitude.
Overall, the event was a joy to watch and incredibly entertaining. The crowd was enthralled, and the performers relished the opportunity to perform together once more! Hamrah’s thoughts sum it up, stating, “I thought the performance went really well especially since we were not able to play together as an ensemble for a whole year. I think we have finally gotten back to the level we were before the shut down.”