Feature: Bands of BHS

Music offers a creative release to high school students; what with academics, athletics and their futures to worry about, music can be a much needed coping mechanism. This can be expressed through an orchestra or choir, but in many cases, students establish independent bands.

According to senior bass player James Monaco, the band culture at the high school has shrunk in recent years. Monaco said that serious, ambitious bands of the past have morphed into socially driven jam groups.

“Even the difference between my freshman year and now,” said Monaco. “My freshman year there was Big Words and other big musicians and bigger, more coherent bands than there are now.”

Senior Jory Cherry plays bass in one of the few established bands at the high school, the Barbie Dolls. According to Cherry, the culture and number of bands at the high school has dropped off in recent years, mainly due to the makeup of the students.

“Now there are talented musicians but not very driven bands,” said Cherry. “I think the school changes as new people come in. So in later years it might pick back up again because more serious bands are formed.”

According to Monaco, creating and maintaining a band can be quite a challenge in students’ increasingly cluttered lives.  Monaco said that he thinks scheduling and finding motivation are typically the greatest difficulties bands face.

“With bands outside of high school it’s always hard to find time when people don’t have sports, or a lot of homework and everyone can find a space to be in and play music together,” said Monaco.

Senior drummer Shane Dähler, who recently recorded an album with a Trinidadian steel drummer, said that getting time and space for rehearsals is incredibly challenging.

“We were starting rehearsals on weeknights at 10 p.m. and going until midnight and then I’d bike home afterwards and go to sleep,” said Dähler.

Senior Tristan Geary, who plays guitar and piano, said he thinks that one of the best parts of being in a band is being able to work and collaborate with other musicians.

“There’s much more of a satisfaction with playing live music with other people than just practicing by yourself,” said Geary. “I think sometimes you create the best things when you have people who have opposing ideas come together and find a compromise.”

Even though not many students are starting serious, formal bands, Dähler said he thinks musicians should still congregate and play casually.

“Just get together with your friends and play and sound like crap. It doesn’t really matter because the process of doing it is still something creative,” said Dähler. “When you play music with other people you’re thinking differently, more creatively.”