What Really Goes on in Blues Band?

Grace McKessy '20, Staff Writer

Everyone in the St. Luke’s community looks forward to the fall’s annual Blues Band concert, but what people don’t consider are all the hours of rehearsals that take place behind the scenes. All they know is that every day after school from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., the world language hallway is booming with music. 

Upon entering the choir room, you notice seats full of students reading sheet music, strumming guitars, and even dancing up and down the aisles. People are singing, playing the drums, and bobbing their heads to the beat. After getting situated, the singers leave to the adjoining choir room to practice possible song choices for the performance. They test out slow songs, fast songs, and songs from varying genres. After, they give feedback and corrections to each other–about their singing, the pitch, and even other songs they could try. After this, everyone comes back together in the choir room, and they put all the pieces together. 

This is singer Allie Vogel’s favorite part. She loves hearing the songs and the instruments come together for the first time. The singers gather around the microphone, and the players begin playing. The last ten minutes of rehearsal emulates what the final performance is like.

Allie also says that she loves seeing how each song progresses over time, and loves when the guest teachers come to practice with the students. One of those guest teachers is Mr. Shee, and he says he looks forward to the last few weeks before the performance because that’s when he’s able to join the talented students and teachers. Mr. Shee got involved in Blues Band because Mr. Leinbach knew his love for singing and asked him to perform. He feels that it is an honor to participate in Blues Band since it is such a fun group and experience. 

On the other hand, Allie Vogel decided to get involved in Blues Band to follow in her brother’s footsteps. Both singers, and the rest of the Blues Band, look forward to the performance every year. 

Blues Band started many years ago due to the creative mind of Mark Bisson. It originally involved four or five students who rehearsed in less than ideal locations like the basement boiler room. Then after a year or so, Mr. Valera started working at St. Luke’s School, and he and Bob Leinbach took over Blues Band and turned it into the performance we are familiar with today.

 According to Mr. Valera, “It is a tremendous experience for the entire SLS community. The program has grown from a few members to over thirty students and teachers involved in the performances.” Mr. Valera also notes that his favorite part of Blues Band is the collaborative experience of listening to and picking songs with his students. He says, “We spend countless hours bouncing song ideas around until we find the right material for the band.” 

After all of the hard work the students and faculty put into the performance, it is no wonder the whole school looks forward to this year’s concert!