Park’s band performs emotional final concert

Band celebrates its graduating seniors

Modesty Manion and Ena Mekic

After a year filled with concerts from all of Park’s bands, the wind ensemble had its final performance of the year May 9.

During the performance, the band played four songs followed by the annual senior night. After an emotional concert including three senior solos, band director Steve Schmitz gave individual commemorative speeches to all of the seniors and handed them roses. 

The concert brought together players across multiple classes, and the full group only practiced together once before the concert. Despite this, senior trombone player Jonah Schultz said the culmination proved successful.

“The concert went way better than expected. Considering that we were in separate bands for the entire semester playing these pieces of music, it was kind of nerve wracking to go into it because a lot of us hadn’t even played with the band,” Schultz said. “But after our performance, I’m more than satisfied with how everyone performed.”

Schmitz said there were some challenges that came along with the dispersal of the ensemble.

“We meet over four different periods. Two are independent study periods with just a few kids and two are bigger classes. We had just one dress rehearsal which was about 80 minutes that we could play together, and a handful of students couldn’t even make that rehearsal because of AP and IB testing,” Schmitz said. “Some of them just had to practice their music and tried to fit in tonight. Considering these challenges, I’m very proud of them.”

As Schmitz mentioned, the end-of-year concert fell in the midst of AP and IB testing at Park. Junior trumpet player Malcolm Drumbeater said that the band persevered during this stressful time.

“The concert went pretty well, (it went) a bit faster than I thought it would go by,” Drumbeater said. “I’m proud of everyone and how quickly we adapted to doing everything even with all these AP and IB tests going on.” 

As with every class’ last concert, students said it was an emotional rollercoaster for the graduating seniors. Schultz described the moment he realized his time with Park’s band had come to an end.

“It’s jarring that this is the last concert because I was so focused on the music until we finished the last piece and I was like, ‘Wait, that’s the last piece I’ll ever play,’” Schultz said. “I remember when I closed my folder I realized that was the last time I’ll ever close my folder on stage. There have been a lot of lasts for us seniors, and it’s very emotional.”

Schmitz said dealing with the overflow of emotions of senior night is difficult every year. 

“It’s hard losing the seniors every year. I’m always about to tear up but at least I’ve gotten used to it that it’s going to happen every spring but it’s hard,” Schmitz said. “Four or five of them come back for every concert so you do see them again which is nice.” 

In spite of the bittersweet feeling that loomed over the concert, Schultz said he was happy for the time he spent in the wind ensemble and Park’s band as a whole.

“My band experience has been more than I could ask for. I’ve grown so much as a person musically and emotionally — I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Schultz said.