The sounds coming from the Bruin Gym on the Riverbank High School campus roared with a variety of ensembles, arrangements, vocals, and instruments at the Winter Concert held on Tuesday evening led by music teacher Joey Aguilar and the high school’s music department. The program included Beginner Guitar, Riverbank Choir, Beginner Band, and the Advanced Band.
Aguilar expressed that the music department has grown a great deal from the day he began his career at RHS a few years ago. He started out with approximately 15 students to now having several different programs and over 40 band members.
The beginner guitar group has about 19 students participating, some performing in public for the first time.
“Guitar class is made up from the general student population that needs to complete their fine arts credits to graduate,” said Aguilar. “Most only play for the academic year but there are several students that have branched into other parts of the music department, including the beginner and advanced band.”
The guitar class performed three guitar arrangements, Ode to Joy, Jingle Bells, and Deck the Halls for the audience and cultivated much applause.
Aguilar was hands on with each group performing an instrument like the guitar, the flute, a clarinet and then was the conductor for the advanced band.
“The students have put in a lot of good work and effort over the course of the last semester,” expressed Aguilar. “It has been a challenge since a majority of our band are freshmen and they still have a lot of room to improve to become fully confident and independent in their playing ability.”
Singing Sleigh Ride, All I Want For Christmas is You, and Silent Night was the Riverbank Choir, which had a few audience members cheering very loudly.
“Choir is a group of students who want to improve their singing voice,” added Aguilar. “We do two concerts a year and eventually they will begin to branch out to community events as the group continues to improve and grow.”
The Beginner Band is a small group but their sound was mighty, playing several numbers for the crowd that included a standout moment for flutist, sophomore Tasha Woods, who began playing flute this year. Most students that start beginner band move onto advanced band.
“Out of all the beginners I have ever started on flute, and there have been many, she is the one that I feel has picked up on playing the instrument the best,” stated Aguilar. “Her mother was also a flute player so her natural playing ability must be in the genes.”
Concluding the night’s festivities was the Advanced Band that played several numbers beginning with El Capitan March and ended with And the Herald Angels Sang. The crowd cheered and applauded after each arrangement was performed.
“I believe the concert went well,” stated Aguilar. “The various recordings that have been posted on social media have given me some good insight on what we did well on and the things that we can continue to improve on. Hopefully our audience will continue to grow and appreciate the music we are playing.”