Clarinet players Haley Marriot and Vanessa Puentes practiced in their pajamas Wednesday morning at Carson High School for the evening's Band-o-rama, but they changed their early-morning wear for the required black-and-white dress at the actual performance.
The girls, their band classmates from Eagle Valley Middle School and other band students from the district filled the high school gym with noise as they practiced for Wednesday evening's performance.
"It's pajama day today at Eagle Valley Middle School," said seventh-grader Haley, with curlers in her hair and wearing yellow-and-turquoise pajamas and fuzzy, multi-colored slippers. On her music were three compositions: "Leader of the Class," "Kids Klassix" and "Heritage of Liberty."
Vanessa sat next to her in a purple bathrobe, purple silky pajamas and metallic-colored fuzzy slippers. There was a lot of noise and some trouble hearing as Band-o-rama organizer William Blankenship yelled things like "Tubas!" or "Trombones!" to catch students' attention.
"All of the bands in the entire district are here from every elementary school, both middle schools and the high school," he said. "We do this every year in March."
Band-o-rama, for fifth to 12th graders, provides students a chance to showcase their talents, practice long-term on pieces, and play with students from other schools. Parents, teachers and school administrators attended.
"Band-o-rama shows parents how many students we have involved in the district," Blankenship said. "Tonight, it will be literally packed in here."
The program began with fifth-graders performing a piece. Subsequent grade levels performed until the finale - "Heritage of Liberty" - was reached. More than 900 students performed in the final piece.
"The cool thing about Band-o-rama is when we play the mass piece," said John Brill, music director at Eagle Valley Middle School.
Band-o-rama also encourages students to stay with band and give different instruments a chance.
"It's kind a recruitment, or feeder, for the younger kids and a motivation for them to stick with it," Blankenship said.
Raul Castro is an example of a student finding a place in band. He first performed in Band-o-rama as a tuba player in fifth grade. This year, he returned as a seventh-grader, but with a completely different instrument: the guitar.
The strap hung around his neck and the guitar at his waist as he waited his turn to practice melody on several pieces
"(Band-o-rama's) awesome," he said. "You get to play with all the school bands in Carson together."
n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at email@example.com or 881-1219.