Local school marching band performs virtual concert

SEATTLE — A Seattle middle school marching band is making music virtually. They haven’t been able to perform since the pandemic closed schools, so their band director found a way to coordinate a concert with more than 100 students.

“Still be engaged in their homes and put out a product they are proud of as if we were on a parade route,” said Marching Band Director John Aguilar of Robert Eagle Staff Middle School.

After the Robert Eagle Staff Middle School marching band’s entire parade season was canceled due to the coronavirus, 117 members found another way to perform.

Their last concert was at the end of February, but their band director John Aguilar didn’t want the music to end there. He wanted his students to know they could still collaborate during these difficult times. Aguilar chose Lizzo’s “Juice” because of its uplifting message.

“It’s an anthem for my students right now because of everything that has been canceled, that they would have done at the end of the year; they still have the juice and they still have that drive to continue to create music,” said Aguilar.

A classically trained flutist, Lizzo was a member of her school marching band. Her path to success and drive is inspiring for Aguilar’s students.

She has a huge presence online and I think it’s inspiring she came from middle school all to where she is now. I hope she likes it, we put in a lot of work for her and I hope it sounds like her song,” said eighth-grade trombone player David Herrin.

“She’s a great artist and should really watch that video if she hasn’t,” said eighth-grade trombone player Nyamal Thabior.

For these eighth graders, they appreciated the opportunity to come together one last time before they go to high school. And this is an empowering experience for Aguilar and his marching band.

“I am glad we had time. Mr. Aguilar found out a way for us to still play music,” Herrin said.

“Proud because it’s like we all took the time to practice and play together for it to sound good,” Thabior said.

Each student had three weeks to film their part and Aguilar compiled the concert in four days.

Aguilar believes music is a source of comfort, and hopes this encourages other marching bands or music groups to create their own virtual concerts.

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