Band Room Gets Needed Facelift

The renovated band room with added lockers, new carpeting and sound tiles. Photograph by Jarin Ashimine ('20).

Over the summer, the high school band room went through extensive renovations.

This is the first time the room has been renovated since its construction 30 years ago. From new lockers, sound proofing to new carpeting, the renovated band room was a welcome sight to band students returning to the new school year.

Before the renovations, the old carpet was soaked with years of spit, which is a combination of water and saliva that is produced when a musician’s breath condenses in the cool metal tubes of their instruments. There was also a split in the room, with two sets of carpet and a open area of concrete between them. The ceiling panels were old, and last year, a piece fell off onto a wind ensemble player during class. One tile even had the names of past wind ensemble members on it.

With the new carpet comes new classroom procedures: Students now have to empty their spit into buckets, which are then emptied and cleaned (in the new sink in the room) at the end of every rehearsal.

Four sets of lockers have also been added. Before, instruments were haphazardly put away on the floor and on open shelves, making it hard for students to retrieve their instruments when setting up for class, which ended up taking up valuable class time.

The new lockers also mean students who own their own instruments have a safe place to store them. Sophomore clarinet player Riyana Werny said, “My new favorite part of the room is the locker, because I get my own since I don’t share my instrument with anyone. Also it’s more convenient than the shelfs we had last year.”

These new lockers also serve another purpose: The backing of each locker is designed to absorb sound, similar to the sound tiles installed around the room and on the ceiling. Music stands now have a dedicated storage system, which reduces the footprint they take when stored away. Summing up the storage improvements to the room, which created more open space in the room, Band director Brad Shimizu said, “Now everything has a place.”

When where you are playing is nice, it feels like what you’re doing is important. – Band director Brad Shimizu

One of the biggest changes to the room was the addition of sound-absorbing panels, lowering the overall volume of the band both in and outside of the room. According to Shimizu, the volume level of the band in the room before the renovations was potentially damaging to one’s ears over the long term. Special pyramid tiles now cover parts of the ceiling, along with panels along the walls. The lowering of the overall volume of the band also allows Shimizu hear more detail and nuances in the musicians’ playing. The ceiling was also raised to help reduce the sound problem. “My favorite thing about the room is the ceiling and the fabric panels, because they can manipulate the sound waves,” said sophomore trombone player Micah Yoshida. Shimizu noted that the renovations have given the band program more than just a facelift. “When where you are playing is nice,” he said, “it feels like what you’re doing is important.”

In the new and improved band room, rehearsals are in full swing for all the bands—middle school bands, Concert Bands I & II and the Wind Ensemble—as they prepare for the Winter Concert in December and the Wind Ensemble’s trip to Carnegie Hall in New York City. “I’m just excited to play the new songs because it was always my goal to make wind ensemble by sophomore year,” Yoshida said. Bass clarinet player Natalie Kwon, a senior and Wind Ensemble member, said, “I’m really excited to play at Carnegie Hall in NYC come springtime. I still need to practice a lot, but it’s gonna be great.”

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