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Band increases performances, expectations

After his first year with the FC marching and concert band, director Jimmy Loomis aims to add more events to this year’s calendar.

“My goal is to consistently raise the musical bar,” Loomis said. “We’ll be traveling more, adding additional concerts and continuing to build the program in a positive way.”

The band program changed directors twice and suffered declining enrollment since the 2006-07 school year. Drum major Alexandrah Aleman, ’10, views the past years both as difficult times and learning experiences for the band.

“I had to adjust to different teaching styles,” Aleman said. “All the teachers taught in different ways, and it was just hard to get a grasp of the music throughout the different directors.”

With more students enrolled for the upcoming season, the high school band has the opportunity to march alone instead of combining with the junior high. This is Loomis’ first time teaching at the same school twice, and many students anticipate a higher level of familiarity, and therefore higher expectations for their performances.

“This year is different in that more will be expected of us,” percussionist Joel Hernandez, ’12, said. “We know our band teacher now, so he really wants us to step it up.”

The band takes advantage of the opportunity to participate in high school parades like the Pismo Review. Senior Hayley Olsen and other experienced members look forward to continuing the tradition after a year’s hiatus.

“The Pismo band trip was a favorite among the ‘bandos’,” Olsen said. “There’s a lot of places to stop along the way, and there’s a lot of hang out time for shopping and having fun with friends. The weather is nice and cool, which makes for easy marching, but the best part was the really nice hotel and staying up all night playing video games. The last time I went was freshman year, and I’m excited to go again to bond with the other band members.”

In addition to reinstated off-campus trips, Loomis plans to bring new programs and fundraisers to the calendar for the 2008-09 season.

“The band is promoting a fundraiser called ‘Friends of the Band’,” Loomis said. “The dinner will involve community-wide support for the FCS music program. The goal of this is to increase the Fresno Christian profile in the community by offering supporters quality musical performances and a good meal to enjoy as well.”

Two additional concerts will be held, one around Veterans Day, with a patriotic theme, and one near Valentine’s Day. Despite heightened expectations and an expanded calendar, band students continue to participate in events to perfect their skills.

“I like the challenge of learning new things and seeing how far I can go in the music,” Sydney Carlson, ’11, said. “And I like how I feel performing in front of people; I feel like I can do anything, and that’s really cool.”

In addition to the musical benefits, Carlson and other band members continue to play because they appreciate the bond created on chilly parade routes, dressy concerts and long practices.

“Band is like a family,” Hernandez said. “We are all in this together, and when we play in unison like this, it just feels right.”

For more information, e-mail Jimmy Loomis.

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