Student bands play to their own tune


A strain of the guitars wraps around the backyard, reverberating through the ears of each audience member before exiting into the sky. The strain, which is now swaying above the backyard, is shortly followed by the soothing sounds of keyboards making the same journey. The drums let out a sharp melody which bounces back and forth between the backyard fences. The harmonious sound of vocals swiftly makes its way through the crowd of noise. It travels up and down, side by side, until every inch of the backyard is filled with sound. Each note from every instrument intertwines with one another, forming a verse from Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter” beautifully mixed into a Latin groove. Senior Elijah Johnston looks at his bandmates, each just as connected to the song. In that moment, they are one. 

“Shows are a very intimate experience,” Johnston said. “That feeling is intensified by being around people we are close to.” 

For those who wish to take a chance, being in a band becomes a lifestyle. They take the burden of balancing school life and band life in order to rock out on the big stage. 

“I learned bass, then I found some friends who played instruments,” Johnston said. “The band really started about four years ago, and it was just me, Aiden, and Evan at the time. We didn’t have a singer, we didn’t have anything. Four years later we’re here.”  

Covid-19 ruined the last two years for many people, especially for these student band members. Some bands, like junior Scarlett Snow’s Midnight Butterfly, took a break for a few months in order to wait out the rising Covid-19 cases. Others, like senior Rogan Dech’s band, decided to take their music online with the help of live streaming services like Facebook Live or YouTube. Streaming their performances through these services helped keep the morale of the band alive, while simultaneously keeping their fans entertained throughout the troublesome year. 

“We were not doing anything for a year and a half, and it started to get repetitive,” Snow said. “We were like “How long is this gonna last?”” 

Even without the pandemic, being in a band was never an easy experience, especially if the person in the band is a full time high school student. Naturally there are some downsides to operating a band. Finishing homework in a timely manner is a challenge for many student band members. Between band practices and performances there leaves little room for doing homework. For some students staying up late to finish homework or cutting band practice short are sacrifices they must take to make sure they do not fall behind in school. 

“We have band practice right away,” Snow said. “I have to do my homework right after.” 

What lies next for these young musicians is unknown, but one thing is for certain they plan to continue making music for as long as possible. 

“There are many bands that come and go, but there are only a few that stay,” Dech said. “I’m hoping we’re one of the ones that stay.”