The Student News Site of Wilsonville High School

Wilsonville Broadcast Network

The Student News Site of Wilsonville High School

Wilsonville Broadcast Network

The Student News Site of Wilsonville High School

Wilsonville Broadcast Network

Beyond ink on a page

Music festivals provide an outlet for students to learn and grow from their peers
Caleb Green
Wilsonville jazz band performs at the West Salem High School auditorium. They placed 3rd in their division, and had the opportunity to hear various other jazz bands! Photo provided by Caleb Green.

Music can mean various things to different people. It can define the beats listened to during activities, a worship team at a Sunday church service, or bring to mind a vague memory of an out-of-tune band playing the national anthem.

However, music also represents passion, perseverance, and dedication. Beyond dots on a page or an app on a phone, music is a commitment for many people around the world, and the West Salem Jazz Festival revealed that interest in music can begin at a young age.

On February 10, West Salem High School hosted a jazz festival for jazz band programs in Oregon, ranging from novice middle school to advanced high school students. The Wilsonville High School Jazz Band had the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in music with like-minded peers from across the state!

However, senior saxophonist Venecia Gonzalez believes that Wilsonville didn’t showcase the highest level of performance they were capable of. “I think we definitely could’ve done better,” Gonzalez admits, “but we went out there and we played, and it was… a memory.”

A memorable treat for Wilsonville and the other festival participants was a special performance by famed saxophonist Grace Kelly. Having been a regular on “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert’s band, Kelly is well-known in the music world, and her presence on West Salem’s stage brought an electric atmosphere to the room.

Jumping up and down excitedly, Gonzalez expressed her enthusiasm for Kelly’s performance, exclaiming, “It was the best thing ever! [Grace Kelly] was so inspiring… it was just like damn, I want to be like her.”

Tyler Ramilo pitched in, expressing that Kelly’s performance was mesmerizing and left an impact on all the young musicians in the room. He went on to say that ‘[Kelly] has many connections” within the music world, underscoring an important theme of music – the music world is smaller than what most people think.

Grace Kelly worked with renowned musicians such as Jon Batiste on the Stephen Colbert show. “A lot of [musicians] work with each other… and they want to work with the people they look up to,” Ramilo explained. “So I definitely think the music world is pretty small.”

WVHS Jazz placed 3rd in their group, but the experience is beyond mere competition; music festivals bring the community together, allowing students to learn and grow from their middle- and high-school counterparts.

Senior Ramilo, who plays trumpet, highlighted this notion by saying, “[Music] festivals [aren’t] only to compete… but also to learn what [other bands] are doing right… and learn from them.”

Events like this are paramount for musical learning and growth for ensembles across the world, and they can happen right in our backyard. “[The festival] helped [our band] gauge where we’re really at and engage maybe what we could do better,” Ramilo explained.

These learning workshops aren’t readily available to all music ensembles throughout the country, and Wilsonville is fortunate to have abundant opportunities in the local area. As the Wilsonville music program continues to grow, music festivals will continue to impact high school students for years to come.