Castro Valley students and alumni connected together once again at the annual Alumni Band Concert this past month on Oct. 7. The concert was organized by the Castro Valley High School Alumni Band Association, which formed in 2004 as a class reunion. Musicians from graduating classes as early as 1958 spent one Saturday rehearsing before performing the next day. From classics like “The Star Spangled Banner” to contemporary pieces like “The Rose,” the Alumni Band enchanted the audience.
The performance was directed by Eugene Graves, a former CVHS band director, who directed the Alumni Band for the final time in his career. Local composer Brent Heisinger performed with the band and even conducted one of his original works. World renowned timpanist Bonnie Lynn Adelson performed an amazing feature, showing everyone the artistic skills needed to play the timpani.
“I didn’t know you could do that with a timpani,” exclaimed Erin Duffy, a student in the audience.
The band did not just consist of alumni, as CVHS students also joined in on the experience. CVHS music students senior Trevor Acebo (alto saxaphone), junior Amanda Leung (percussion), and sophomore Jake Kole (trombone) all contributed to the performance. While many teenagers might hesitate before working with older people, these students were eager to involve themselves in such a memorable event.
“I participated in the performance because I love jazz and the certain style of it,” said Trevor Acebo, who also participated in the Alumni Jazz Band, which played during the intermission of the concert.
“It’s just an amazing experience and opportunity to hear their high school stories and life advice,” said Leung. “They have so much to say and offer if you’re willing to talk to them. So many of them would just walk up to me and show me pictures of their grandchildren.”
All the performers had a lot of fun onstage; the conductors would crack jokes at the mic, and make remarks about the music at CVHS.
“Playing with the Alumni Band under Gene Graves was such an amazing experience for me,” enthused Leung. “Walking into the cafeteria room where we rehearsed, just looking around, you can see the passion and joy all these people have for music and that’s what music is all about.”
This type of event certainly shows CVHS’s pride and achievements. Many of the alumni went on after high school to pursue careers in music. Despite the busy lives they’ve built, CVHS alumni come together every year to unite as one band.