Among the musicians leaving the ANS Concert Band this year is Andrew López, a Senior who’s been playing tenor saxophone for nearly five years. Being asked about his experiences, he looks back on his years of performing alongside his bandmates, and shares how his passion for music has developed.
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How did you start playing music at ANS?
I started through the Instrumental Music I class in 8th grade. When they made my schedule, I was put in it since all the other classes were full, but that led me to play the tenor saxophone and be able to play many concerts and engage in many experiences that I am very grateful for. I was able to play with other musicians from the Instrumental Music II class, and we played in the Francophonie, and that’s when I realized I really enjoyed it. From that first year, I fell in love with playing music and performing.
What do you like about your instrument?
I like the saxophone a lot, mainly because it’s one of the main instruments used for jazz. I love jazz music, so I’m grateful to be able to play an instrument that is so well known because of its jazz history and its jazz songs. But I also really enjoy playing songs on the saxophone because of how much it can vary in sound, and its wide register that makes me able to play almost any type of song.
What are some of your favorite memories with the Concert Band?
Some of my favorite band memories… One of them definitely has to be the Valentine’s Day Concert in 2020, because we raised funds for it ourselves, and we organized it ourselves, and so it felt more satisfying. It felt… It made us very happy to be able to perform for something that we all put our effort into. Another good memory would probably be AASCA Music Festival, in 2019, because all the Central American countries got together, many schools got together, and we were able to play with all of them, in an orchestra of a hundred people, and it sounded really pretty. I also really enjoyed the Chinese New Year this year. The way the event was set up—multiple performances throughout that day—was really interesting, and made for a new experience. Also, we were all playing different instruments than what we usually play, and I was glad to showcase Chinese culture.
How do you feel when you perform on stage?
At first, it was very stressful to play in front of people. But as time has passed, and we’ve performed in more and more concerts—and also with this year that we all performed solo songs—that fear has gradually faded away. I’ve felt more confident about playing in front of people, and I think that’s made the music sound even better, and has made the experience better, because we’re not nervous of what other people will think about how we sound; we just know that if we play how we want, play like we mean it, and we try our best—like we’re willing to do the most that we can—our music will sound as good as it possibly can.
What does Concert Band mean to you?
Well, I’m very passionate about the Concert Band. I really like music, and being able to play music every day makes my school life so much better. So I think it’s very important for me as a high school student, as an ANS student, to be part of the band. Throughout the five years that I’ve been in the band, I’ve learned so much, and I’ve been able to experience so many new things that I would’ve never gotten to experience had I never joined.
Do you have any words of encouragement for someone considering starting to learn music?
It’s definitely good to try new things in life, and it might not seem easy at first, but I assure you that with more practice—and when you find the right instrument for you, and the right type of music that you’re passionate about playing—you’ll have a great time playing music. And playing songs in concerts too, because performing for people is such a beautiful thing that I wish everyone could experience at least once.