After a Year of Virtual Rehearsals, Pali High Band, Color Guard and Drumline Return to Campus
By LILY TINOCO | Reporter
After a year of virtual rehearsals and being unable to compete due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Palisades Charter High School’s band, color guard and drumline have returned to campus in preparation for upcoming shows and competitions.
Band Director Tyler Farrell said he joined the school at the start of the 2019-2020 academic school year and was able to spend a few months with students in-person before pivoting to an online format. Students rehearsed stand tunes and choreography on Zoom that would later be pieced together to create a virtual performance.
This year, students were presented with the opportunity to return to the field and have been getting ready for the season’s competitions since.
“It feels so good to be somewhat back to normal,” Farrell said to the Palisadian-Post. “Our student leadership team and veteran marchers are setting some great examples. They’re really helping teach our younger members a lot about the traditions of the band … it’s been really cool to see the students that were my first group of ninth- and tenth-graders now leading as current juniors and seniors.
“It’s a really young group but there’s a great work ethic, a great attitude and we’re just having a lot of fun. We’re all nothing but excited.”
Farrell said color guard and drumline started rehearsing in mid-June, and band camp began Thursday, July 29—but preparation for the show began in June 2020.
“We’ve been sitting on some ideas … we knew we wanted to do a space [themed] show, so we started thinking visually what we can incorporate onto the field and what we can incorporate musically,” he said.
This year’s team is presenting “One Giant Leap,” which Farrell explained takes the audience on a musical journey.
The show begins with Gustav Holst’s “Jupiter,” followed by “Mission: Apollo” by Tyler S. Grant. Farrell said the team’s third movement is entirely original, featuring a piece by Farrell and percussion director Michael Shlotter.
“It’s an evolving piece where you feel this sense of weightlessness and like you’re floating in space, taking in the beautiful colors, and the stars and planets in front of you,” he said.
The show ends with a piece called “Kingfishers Catch Fire” by composer John Mackey. Farrell said it’s an exciting end to the program, which is ultimately a celebration.
“It makes you feel like you’ve really achieved what you’ve set out to achieve and you’re looking toward the horizon, looking toward the future to keep going,” he said. “This show is kind of fitting for us too because space is the tangible object. We can all visualize leaving Earth and going to space, but the staff and I have been thinking and alluding this to the kids. It’s really about setting a goal and going through either a little bit of turmoil or challenges and overcoming them.
“We really felt like this was appropriate coming out of the COVID lockdowns and celebrating being back together. We’ve made it through this challenging time, let’s enjoy it together and keep going.”
The group will participate in four competitions this year: The Ayala Music in Motion Tournament on October 9, RCC’s Big Orange Classic on October 23, the Conquistador Classic on November 6 and the Trabuco Hills Tournament in the Hills WBA Regional Championships on November 23.
Farrell, who grew up and previously taught in North Carolina, said he has always had a love for music and a passion for teaching—becoming a band director was his way of fusing the two. He said the best part of being Pali High’s band director is undoubtedly working with the students.
“It’s been fun watching them grow up,” he shared. “They come in as ninth-graders and they really do develop into some young adults really quickly. It’s so fun to watch and see how they not only interact with each other but they interact with their peers and the community as a whole. They are, hands down, the best part.”
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