Two of Turlock’s high school bands are joining forces for a performance in the nation’s capital next month and hope to share the experience with the community through a preview concert of their show-stopping moves.
Thanks to their impressive displays at band reviews throughout California this year, the Pitman High School and Turlock Christian wind ensembles were invited to perform together at the Sousa Band Festival on March 24, giving both schools the chance to participate in an exclusive music event at the Concert Hall of Washington, D.C.’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
The Turlock Christian Marching Eagles recently celebrated the program’s most successful season ever, competing in four band reviews and placing first in each. The Pitman Marching Pride wows the crowd at the school’s sporting events, and most recently received top honors in every category at the San Joaquin Valley Tournament of Bands.
For the past six weeks, the two bands have been practicing together, learning classical works like “Espirit de Corps” by Jager, “Colonial Song” by Grainger and a number of pieces by the festival’s namesake, John Phillip Sousa, who was an American composer and conductor of the late Romantic era known primarily for military marches.
Due to Turlock Christian’s small size, their band includes junior high students as well. This is the first time the two schools have collaborated for a performance, and Turlock Christian eighth grader Hunter Arellano said the experience has been enriching for both himself and other young musicians in the group.
“The music we’re playing is pretty hard, but a lot of the Pitman kids have really been helping me a lot,” Hunter said. “I knew this would be a good experience because I can learn a lot from the kids at Pitman, and it will teach me a lot going into my next year playing tuba.”
The two wind ensembles are working to raise funds for their trip, and have two events planned in the coming weeks to help with costs. The public can purchase $15 dinner tickets for a drive-thru Neto’s dinner set for Feb. 22, and next month the bands will hold a preview concert where they’ll perform the exact set they have planned for the Kennedy Center.
“People can come see how hard we’ve been working, and the pieces we’re performing are really cool too,” Hunter said.
Hunter’s mom, Becky Arellano, has been working alongside others from both schools to plan the fundraising event. Tickets will cost $5, with all proceeds going toward the D.C. trip. The students have enjoyed getting to know musicians from a different school while preparing the preview concert, she said.
“It’s been really neat for us at TC to work with Pitman, and the kids were so excited to meet them and join up with another band,” she said. “How many times do you get the opportunity to play in a public setting with these kids from a different school who are just magnificent?”
The ensembles will perform a five-song set, Arellano said, expected to last about 45 minutes. The concert will begin at 6:30 p.m. March 18 at Monte Vista Chapel in Turlock. Tickets do not need to be purchased ahead of time and will be available at the door. For more information, or to purchase tickets for the Neto’s fundraiser, email firstname.lastname@example.org.