Music Festival Unites Mililani Complex

Megan Schendel

     Spreading their shared love of music, over 450 students from around the Mililani district performed in the second annual Mililani Complex Band and Orchestra Festival on Sept. 13 in the MHS gymnasium. Led by band and orchestra instructors Bryan Hirata, Curtis Hiyane, Derek Kaapana, Grayson Mento, Lorrie Ujimori and Lauren Fagaragan, the MHS, Mililani Middle School (MMS) and Mililani Ike Elementary School music programs teamed up to put on the concert. The directors led the band and orchestra in separate pieces before having them join together to perform one collective piece.

     “I was amazed by how everyone came together,” said audience member and parent Ashley Yoshida, “Seeing all the different students and instruments come together in the end was just amazing to hear.”

     The band, comprised of MHS and MMS students, opened the concert with a set of three songs including Michael Sweeney’s “Beauty and the Beast.” Following their performance, the orchestra, comprised of students from all three schools, came forward and played three songs including “Dragonhunter” by Richard Meyer. To close off the concert, the band and orchestra merged together to play one last song— “Crash and Roar” by Larry Clark.

     The concert gave the students a unique opportunity to play together as one large group.  “At other concerts we have different smaller groups playing and they all have their own little sets and we might have one mass piece. Everything we played at the concert was one mass piece all together, from different ensembles in our own school to different ensembles in the entire community,” said Senior Giscelle Rosario. “It was a really neat experience because we had a really powerful sound having so many students playing”

     Their love for music brought together students from across the Mililani community as they shared their passion together. “This concert presents a deeper sense of unity,” said Rosario. “It showed our love of music as a community and as a whole.”

     The concert allowed for a wide range of students, with different ages and skill levels to play together and learn from one another. “(I enjoy) just seeing all the ages of all the kids that are playing in band and orchestra playing here together and creating something together for the families and for themselves,” said the event coordinator Kristi Higuchi-Delos Santos.

     One of the focuses of this year’s concert was not just on the music itself but also on speaking to and getting to know each other. “The goal is to get all the instrumental students together in one place and to share music. One of the other things is to get them engaged with each other,” said Higuchi-Delos Santos. “This year we tried to focus a little more on socialization and our leadership.” Prior to the concert, members of the MHS Marching Band helped to lead energizers and quick games that allowed the students to interact.

     The concert also gave the older students a time for reflection and the opportunity to encourage the younger generation to continue in the music program. “For our students it gives them the chance to share where they are right now in their musical journey with the younger students. It also gives the younger students a chance to look up to where they can be in the future,” said Higuchi-Delos Santos. The objective is for the younger students to look up to the older students and realize that they were once beginners too. “I just hope that they carry on that love of music when they get to high school because I have, and I would love to see our music program flourish,” said Rosario. 

     As many students’ journeys through the music program come to an end, the plan is to get the younger students involved early on through the Mililani Band and Orchestra Complex Festival so that more students will continue to follow in their footsteps and encourage the next generation.