“Creating Something Together”

The Story of the RMHS Winter Band Concert

Alice Lin (‘22), Orbit Contributor

With school in hybrid format and most clubs virtual, RMHS Jazz and Symphonic band students still created a special and successful concert. 

In the past, RMHS band students had the opportunity to play in front of huge audiences for concerts. As a result of the pandemic, the RMHS Winter Band Concert was held as a totally different experience. This is due to the fact that for many, getting involved in a band with other students who enjoy music as well, can help develop strong social connections. According to band director, Mr. Mulligan, “Music is so communal and we no longer have a community. Playing in a group and playing alone are two different things. Being a solo player is great however, most students are involved in band because of the social aspects of it as well, like creating something together.”

…most students are involved in band because of the social aspects of it…like creating something together.

— Mr. Mulligan


To put together the band concert, students had to learn how to record themselves. Each individual band student used Soundtrap to record themselves playing the music pieces. Mr. Mulligan said of Soundtrap, “It was free for educational purposes in the spring and they kind of hooked you in. When the fall came and we realized we possibly still be remote then they charged for it. The school paid for every student who is in any music class. So it was all of the band students, jazz students, all of the choruses, the music theory class, and for the second semester the introduction to digital media will also be using it. It was almost 300 students.” RMHS really supports all of their music programs, because without the funds for new computer programs music programs had to face barriers. 

Although when the audience listens to the online concert, it seems like everyone is together, they’re really not. “Like recording stuff, we’re not truly doing that together. You play differently when you play with a group versus when you play alone. There are some students that play much better when they play with other people than they do when they play alone, even their tone, or rhythm, of whatever is much better when you play with a group than soloistically. It’s been very difficult for me because I know how much kids rely on that social part of it and to take that away, I’m afraid of how many people are going to stop playing because of that. I know it’s hard and it’s not nearly as fun,” said Mr. Mulligan. As a result of the hybrid model, it’s difficult to physically create music with peers face-to-face.  

Not only did band students have to deal with challenges of recording themselves and self editing,  other people put in lots of time to make the virtual concert run smoothly. Adjusting and assembling the virtual band concert was a challenge. “Just putting the music part together took about two weeks.  It was difficult. With the Symphonic Band, I did all of the editing of the music and a past graduate by the name of Niles Singer (Class of 2017) put together the video. With the Jazz Band, Ben Mini (’22) put together all of the jazz band music, and Will Merry (’21) put together all of the video,” said Mr. Mulligan. Combining the music and video of every band student required great amounts of effort and time to complete. 

A benefit with virtual concerts was that more people were able to easily listen to the concert. Also they could listen to it multiple times, instead of only getting one chance to hear the concert. Looking at virtual concerts positively, “I would guarantee you that more people have heard our concert because it was online than would have gone to the concert,” replied Mr. Mulligan. The concert was a success because with the concert being online, people can watch it safely without needing to worry about social distancing. 

Here is the link to the RMHS Winter Band Concert.