Percussion Prepares for Performances: Spectacular Spettacolo

Jessica Yee, Staff Writer

     As the end of the school year gets close to wrapping up, several organizations on campus make preparations to finish with the best memories. Spettacolo, that is Italian for show or performance, is the time of the year again for percussionists to finish the school year with their strongest sound.

     “Spettacolo is a time where all of the plan cluster percussion programs come together and put on two amazing shows,” senior Greg Stokes said. “We play everything from self composed solo pieces written by students, to more modern day songs written for a percussion ensemble.”

     Within the Spettacolo program are special music pieces self-composed by students themselves. Talents like these get the opportunity to be seen and heard by a lot of people.

     “One song that we are playing this year is “Fire Flies” by Owl City, written by our very own Andrea Wilcox,” Stokes said. “She did an amazing job composing the music from just hearing it off a soundtrack.”

     Percussion students get excited for Spettacolo for the chance to be rewarded for all the preparations they have done, performing their best.

     “Spettacolo is the epitome of the percussion program,” junior Gabriel Caldwell said. “We all look forward to these performances because it is basically like the MTV awards of the Plano Senior percussion world. We get to show off the hard work we have accomplished throughout the year.”

     For those who are seniors in the group, this is the last time they will be performing in Spettacolo. Being part of the concert in the percussion program holds more meaning to those graduating this year.

     “This is the one show this year where I literally play my heart out,” Stokes said. “It kills me this is the last time I’ll be able to play this year. It is one of the best feelings in the world knowing that you are creating music with about 80 other people who all have the same passion as you.”

     Junior percussionists who still have another year left have more to look forward to, but they still plan to give this year’s concert their best performance.

     “It gives me another year of experience,” Caldwell said. “Our director, Michael Hernandez, has told us that finishing is one of the most important things in life. So this concert is us finishing out our year pretty much.”

     People have seen percussionists performing in the back of the band concerts, but this time percussion will be taking center stage.

     “It’s totally different from a typical band performance,” Stokes said. “Mainly it is that fact that in one of the shows, all four grade levels (9-12) get a chance to perform with one another at all different skill levels.”

     Not only does the concert give percussionists a chance to show off their best performance, but also a time for it to be a learning experience.

     “Spettacolo affects my percussion experience my reminding me to be aware of others while I play and not just be closed minded while I play,” Stokes said. “One of the biggest challenges for most people I have found is just being able to listen to other parts while blending your part into it without sticking out like a sore thumb.”
     Tradition is an important factor at the school, and to students involved in organizations like band. For this concert, percussion students serve tradition well and loud.
     “A tradition we do in Spettacolo is having the last song of the show performance showcase all of the percussionist in one massive song,” Stokes said. “It is a cool feeling jamming out with about 80+ students all at one time.”
     People should not hold back from experiencing a night like Spettacolo. Percussionists have spent all year in time outside of school to prepare for this and several other band concerts.
     “People see it because it is a very rare type of performance and experience,” Stokes said. “Just getting to see students perform solos that they have worked countless hours on is really rewarding Not only that they can perform for an audience, but that they can also say that they finished something; learning a solo, perfecting it, then the final performance.”

     Spettacolo is the type of concert people do not want to miss for the enjoyment that is in store for both performers and listeners.

     “People should go see Spettacolo because it is a phenomenal show,” Caldwell said. “Not only for other percussionists, but for everyone. And what we do is really cool.”
     The concert will also be a good time for percussionists and performers to be together for one last show. The feeling of being onstage with people they have worked with for the entire year can mean a lot to them.

     “Spettacolo is the end for us percussionists for the year. We all look forward to this performance because it is all of us showing ourselves off and giving each other the respect deserved for a hard year’s work,” Caldwell said. “Through anything we go through, percussion sections are just one big family to each other.”

     The show holds much value and memories to juniors and seniors alike, ones they should not forget. Though it may be their last, it will also be their best.
     “Music is my life and this show,” Stokes said. “Even if I am not performing it ever again, will always be one of the best times of my life.”