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Festive Music Fills Bruin Gym For Winter Concert
A tuba player and a trombonist are just two members of the brass section of the RHS Advanced Band. Sharp-eyed members of the audience could notice that both instruments were decked out with Christmas lights, much like they would have been had the marching band been able to participate in the recent parade through downtown Riverbank. Ric McGinnis/The News

The sounds of seasonal music filled the evening air on the Riverbank High School campus this past week.

The RHS Music Department presented its Ninth Annual Winter Concert on Thursday, Dec. 9, performed in the Bruin Gym.

Maestro Joey Aguilar, band director, welcomed the crowd, which consisted of friends and families of the performers, as well as school instructors, administrators, some school board members and members of the general public.

During the concert the Music Booster’s Club sold items to help raise funds for the band program like flowers, candy bars, and Jamba Juice Cards.

The last concert performed by the Riverbank High School Band was in December 2019 which was a Jazzy Christmas concert.

Aguilar currently instructs beginner band, advanced band, guitar and colorguard.

“To be honest, the year started out rough because of all the COVID restrictions against band classes,” stated Aguilar about band this school year. “It also didn’t help that well trained students that knew how I operate as a teacher and band director graduated this year, so I basically had to restart the band program and re-train a lot of sophomores and freshmen as they make up the majority of the band. Things are slowly starting to get back to the normal way I run the band and the students are starting to progress in their playing ability.”

RHS Beginner and Advanced Band performed at the Winter Concert. There are about 30 students in the advanced band and 31 students in beginner band. This was the beginner band’s first time performing in a concert.

Performing first was the RHS Beginner Band.

They played simplified versions of five pieces, including the seasonal ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Jolly Old St. Nick’. ‘This Old Man’ was next, followed by ‘Star Chase’, with ‘Up On A House Top’ rounding out that first section of the program.

After a brief period of moving instruments from one band to another, the Advanced Band took over.

They performed four more complex pieces, concluding with movements from Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker Suite’. The band started with ‘Monterey March’ followed by ‘And The Herald Angels Sang.’

Aguilar thanked all the parents, families, friends, school administration, staff and community members who continue to support the school’s music program, and invited members of the audience to join the Band Boosters group.

“Highlights were the advanced band students really pulling it together on the second piece,” said Aguilar. “They were struggling with the music and we were not sure if they would pull it together for the concert, but they sure enough surprised me. Seemed like everyone enjoyed the concert.”

Aguilar noted that the attendance was up from the concert two years ago and most people in attendance were wearing masks.

“The concert went very well overall,” remarked Aguilar. “All the students did a great job of playing the music and they were happy with their results as well. I’m glad that we were able to perform this year because I wasn’t 100 percent sure if the concert was going to happen. Thankfully, the concert was a success, and we all look forward to the next one.”


News reporter Virginia Still contributed to this story.

The Beginning Band was first on the program to perform at Riverbank High’s Winter Concert. They played five selections before the Advanced Band took over, on Thursday evening, Dec. 9. Ric McGinnis/The News
Maestro Joey Aguilar, conductor of the bands at Riverbank High School, welcomes the crowd of mostly friends and families to the Bruin Gym for the school’s Ninth Annual Winter Concert. The event was not held last year because of the COVID pandemic. Ric McGinnis/The News