To Perform or Not to Perform

To Perform or Not to Perform

By: Jackson Tacka

Musically inclined students at Gilman may have noticed while registering for courses that participation in Concert Band is required if you want to be in Jazz Band and participation in Glee Club is required if you want to be in the Traveling Men. The  Music Department’s stated policy reads, "To maintain a balanced music education, Traveling Men and Jazz Band students must be concurrently enrolled in Glee Club and Concert Band, respectively. The primary focus of Concert Band and Glee Club is to perform a variety of standard ensemble repertoire. Traveling Men is an audition-only group focused on A capella singing; Jazz Band is designed to introduce specific jazz styles and repertoire.”

The Jazz Band policy was formed by Ms. Cheryl Nkeba and former Band Director Mr. Ronald Bange in 2006 when Ms. Nkeba first arrived at Gilman. The policy is intended to open up opportunities for gifted musicians to challenge themselves with a new type of music. Mandating that students  in specialized groups take part in larger ensembles is standard practice in most schools around the country. As Mr. Ariel Dechosa emphasized, the policy is set in place to “maintain a balanced music education.”

Some students feel the policy is unnecessary and constricts their schedule. Michael Shea (‘17), explained, “If there were fewer rehearsal obligations, there would be more opportunities for academic and extracurricular activities.” On the flip side, Piyush Mavanur (’20) provides a great representation of the effect of these activities, “Band helps me learn and build on the fundamentals of playing my instrument while Jazz Band offers the opportunity to put those fundamentals to use by playing Jazz, Blues, and other styles of music more prevalent to today.”