Honorable Notes

Wind Ensemble players perform with the Santa Clara County Honor Band


Ava Stark

Lauren Gernale, Jin Cho, Andrew Kim, Andrew Goldberg, Anthony Lenz, Brian Garrison and Gautam Khajuria pose with band director Chris Nalls following Sunday’s county honor band performance at Saratoga High School.

Ava Stark, Arts Editor

Seven Wind Ensemble members performed with 71st Santa Clara County Honor Band, filling Saratoga High School’s McAfee Center with music this Sunday.

The performance featured seven students from Branham’s Wind Ensemble: Andrew Kim (9), Gautam Khajuria (10), Brian Garrison (11), Anthony Lenz (11),  Lauren Gernale and Andrew Goldberg (12).

The band performed five pieces over the course of an hour, beginning “Stillwater” and “Peace Dancer,”  “American Fanfare,” “Do The Math,” and ending with “The March of Time.”

Junior and french horn player Anthony Lenz said he enjoyed performing “Stillwater” and “Do The Math” the most.

“Do The Math” was composed by the honor band’s featured director Dr. Timothy Mahr, who said the piece creates “an uncomfortable tension that is reflective of the challenges facing society today.”

Beyond its blend of traditional harmonies and mathematical constructs, the piece highlights the complexity of the state of the world and how fractured it is. 

“‘Do The Math’ was very exciting for me because we were the first band to play it,” said Lenz. “It really took my skills and discipline to the next level.”

Branham band director Chris Nalls said he was happy that his students were able to explore complex pieces and work under Mahr.

“Getting exposed to new literature that’s at the very highest level in this area is a great experience,” he said, “Getting to meet people like Dr. Mahr and to play under them is just wonderful.”

In preparation for the concert, the group had three rehearsals over the past week for a total of 21 hours. Nalls said he was impressed by his student’s dedication and the group’s performance in spite of the small amount of rehearsals.

“They get such a great sound from such a limited amount of rehearsal,” said Nalls. “It’s really a testament to the skill level of the students involved.”