Band finds harmony with new director


Michaela Edlin/Bear Witness

Julia Marques da Silva, Design Director

Band students are resilient. Despite experiencing a rough start to the school year where they were without a music director, their spring semester is starting on a positive note. They’ve been working with Chris Nalls, a veteran of the Bay Area music scene, and in January successfully wrapped up their Winter Concerts. Nalls’ hiring brought a sense of certainty after students worked with a string of substitute teachers with no music experience.

Sophomore Mia Janosik, one of Symphonic Band’s student leaders, is excited with the direction that Nalls was taking the class.

“I finally had hope that band was going to be heading in the right direction,” she said.

Nalls has continued the band program’s diverse offerings, from Concert, Symphonic and Wind Ensemble, started by Diane Wyant, which made for an easy transition.

“We all knew what we wanted to get done, and we just did it,” Nalls said.

Students were able to plan for concerts more efficiently with his aid and created a successful year with the turbulent start. Many students are starting to feel more confident with their new band director.

Senior Lauryn Ping, who is in Wind Ensemble and the marching band, appreciates that he encourages student voices, something that Wyant also promoted.

“He‘s a huge proponent of getting student input and allowing students to take leadership roles,” Ping said. “I’m glad he’s continued and expanded on that.”

Nalls transitioned from his job at Oak Grove High School, but also has prior experience with the music program here. During his high school years, he wrote the marching band show. A decade ago, with Wyant, Nalls helped reestablish the marching band. After seeing the success that students had with leading the class, Nalls said he plans to give more opportunities to music students in order for them to stay engaged in the class. Some of these opportunities include leading an ensemble or putting together a concert.

“Mr. Nalls is taking it in a really good direction,” Janosik said. “People will find a renewed love for music and find a variety of opportunities to be more involved in the program.”

Nalls said that he looks forward to further expanding the program through more student involvement, as well as allowing students to pursue their passion for music throughout high school.