In person and on beat, SBCC’s Concert Band returns to Garvin

The City College concert band rehearses for their upcoming concert on Nov. 17 at the Garvin Theatre at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Concert Band will only be performing with 55 people this year, as opposed to the usual 100.

Melissa Garcia, Staff Writer

From online to on stage, City College’s Concert Band is returning to in-person performances starting Sunday, Nov. 21 in the Garvin Theatre.

The works in the program include: “Tom Sawyer Suite,” “Marimba Concerto,” “Prelude and Celebration,” “Mont Blanc,” “Minor Alterations,” “Hanover Festival,” “Bright Lights!” and “The Witch and The Saint.” 

“The pieces that will be performed will be the same level of fun but also challenging music for both the audience and performers,” conductor Eric Heidner said.

For the first time in two years, the City College Concert Band will present their end-of-the-year show live.

Heidner said Tom Sawyer’s Suite is the creation of Swiss Italian composer Franco Cesarini including American sounds in each of its movements. There are also themes in every piece for each character, which all come together to tell the story as a whole.

Although the concert band is normally made up of 90-100 people, this year there will only be 55 up on stage performing.

“I am looking forward to playing the music and seeing what a concert during COVID-19 is going to look like,” alto saxophone player Valentina Venegas said.

All of last year, every performance was virtually held through Zoom because of the COVID-19 safety restrictions. When they first met together online, there was a delay that did not allow for everyone to play in time.
This forced each band member to instead perform separately then send in their clip from home. Heidner then edited each piece together, bringing the music in sync and allowing the band to perform as a group. He said this method was “fun but not preferred.”

“After two years of not being able to perform in front of a live audience, the concert band’s upcoming performance has been a long time coming,” tenor saxophone player Leo Rubio said. “I feel so lucky to be part of a 50-plus piece band full of such talented musicians from all around Santa Barbara.”

“The music is exciting as ever,” Rubio continued. “Being able to share it with a live audience will make it that much better. We’ve put a lot of time as a group rehearsing to make the performance one to never forget.”

During rehearsals, each band member has adjustable masks that are worn even while playing. All wind instruments also have bell screens covering them to ensure more safety. For the performance, the musicians are allowed to play without the bell covers on.

There have been zero COVID-19 cases throughout the whole music department since returning to in-person practices. The concert band conductor said they have been taking a lot of precautions to be careful so everyone can continue to practice together.

To ensure the audience stays safe, they must follow COVID-19 protocols that are currently in place. This includes wearing masks while inside Drama/Music building or theatres. Audience members will also need to provide physical or digital proof of vaccination for entry, along with an ID.

If unvaccinated, the individual must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test that has been taken within 72 hours before attending the event.

Tickets are able to be purchased online or at the Garvin Theatre Box Office. Prices are $15 for general admission, and $10 for students and seniors.