Band students and faculty prepare to play for graduation, continuing the tradition

HS+Band+members+set+up+before+the+2021+graduation+ceremony.

Chris Memoli

HS Band members set up before the 2021 graduation ceremony.

Divya Rajan, Staff Writer

As the end-of-year graduation nears, WHS is making preparations for the ceremony. Specifically, preparations for the sound of graduation have crescendoed as graduation approaches. Continuing the tradition, Wind Ensemble and Concert Band students have been practicing as they will provide the music for the graduation ceremony. 

The ceremony will take place on June 4 on the Weston town green, with a rain date of June 5. This year, there will be around 50 students playing for graduation and will be under the direction of music director Christopher Memoli and band teacher Claire Nalven.

I’m excited for the seniors that they get to do it in person,” Memoli said. 

Nalven elaborated on this unique experience band students get to have.

It’s a really fun thing to be a part of. I’m really glad that band gets to be the music for it because otherwise you don’t get to see graduation until you graduate, or maybe if you have an older sibling, but we really get to be part of that every year and it’s really a lot of fun,” Nalven said. “I think it’s one of those things that once you’ve done it, you look forward to it. I’m excited!”

Band students are excited as well for this experience.

“Although I feel that the graduation will be somewhat limited due to COVID-19, I am very excited about the ceremony! Apart from that, I want to wish the seniors good luck on their pursuits after high school,” sophomore Neil Agarwal, who will be playing the Bb clarinet, said. 

The graduation songs were selected based on previous years’ selections.

Memoli expressed the long tradition of the songs and stated how they are “pretty standard, traditional pieces” and “for the last 23 years we’ve had the same music. The processional is ‘Pomp and Circumstance.’ The recessional is ‘Crown Imperial,’ and that’s a very popular recessional graduation piece.”

Nalven further elaborated on the other graduation pieces, which are rotations of songs that have been played before. 

“We’re playing one called ‘Redemption’ by Galante and we’re also playing a piece called ‘Freedom’ by Michael W. Smith,” Nalven explained. 

Further, students have favorite pieces out of the songs which will be played during graduation. 

I enjoy all the pieces, but if I had to pick, ‘Redemption’ by Rossano Galante would be my favorite,” Agarwal said. 

Additionally, there are positives that arise when both Wind Ensemble and Concert Band play together. 

“I imagine the town green has quite a bit of space. It’s a big place, so the good news is, for us, the more people that are playing it’ll be a lot easier. Strength and numbers, that’s a really nice thing,” Nalven said.

Moreover, the graduation ceremony offers valuable experiences that people look forward to. 

“I like watching the students walk across the stage to get their diploma because they’re so happy and it’s fun to see them with excitement,” Memoli shared.

Nalven also conveyed her favorite part of the ceremony. 

“I’ve graduated from college, grad school, high school and I’ve also attended some, so my favorite moment I think is when they basically say you’re graduated, everyone throws their hat up, and then that’s when the band starts playing. The piece we’re playing, ‘Crown Imperial,’ it’s very festive, kind of almost like fireworks, that comes out of that,” Nalven said. 

Furthermore, teachers expressed admiration for the class of 2021 since they are graduating during a pandemic. 

“We’ve all had a really tough time, and I think especially this year’s seniors. They’ve been troopers so I think they’ll be really excited to graduate,” Nalven said.

Memoli agrees with Nalven and also appreciates the class of 2021.

“It’s been a rough year on the seniors so it makes me happy that they get to have some resemblance of a normal graduation and closure to their four years of high school.”