Band takes Chicago


Photo Courtesy of Peter Manzi

Members of Carlsbad High School’s band visit Chicago, competing in a local competition. The CHS band came out taking home the superior title.

Payton Gordon, Staff Writer

The Carlsbad High School bands, led by director Peter Manzi, just returned from their Spring Break trip to Chicago. The band received a superior rating in competition, bringing home numerous trophies which now decorate the band room.

I sat down with Mr. Manzi to get some information about the motivation, goals and highlights of the trip.

“We went to chicago because I believe it is important to expose students to music not just in our area, but nationally. The ability to go across the country and showcase what we do and learn a little bit about the heritage and what happens musically and in the performing arts is important,” director Peter Manzi said. “Really it is kind of two fold. There is a ton Chicago has to offer. The seniors went to New York when they were freshmen, so that was out of the running. But also it’s where I grew up. The ability to be able to take them home. While we were there we did a showcase concert in the church I grew up in, I was there at five days old. I told the kids, my grandma is unable to come out to california because of her age. Since she couldn’t come out here, I took the band to her. She cried a lot.”

While in Chicago, the main goal of the journey was not only to compete, but also to be exposed to the musical differences Chicago has to offer. There are certain things which can not be taught in a classroom, so the exposure to the environment of Chicago allows for students to develop their musical skills in a unique way. The students are then able to take those skills back to Carlsbad, and employ them in the many different musical programs at our school. 

“We had three performance opportunities.”, director Peter Manzi said. “We spent some time at Vanderkirk college of music, which is actually where I got my masters. They had a two hour clinic, where Stacey Dolan polished up our music not only for the competition but also for the concert. We played in a festival of music competition and we played two songs for a panel of judges. At the end of the competition, Carlsbad bands came out on top, with the only superior rating of the event, and came away with the Chicago championship for the music festival. They worked hard. This was an interesting group where we had two groups combined. They only rehearsed four times together. Also, the work they had to do on their own before coming in to the rehearsals. The ability to just put a band together. No one realized they had only rehearsed four times. Pretty remarkable.”

The students obviously had a different experience than Mr. Manzi in Chicago, as they were participating in all of the events Mr. Manzi described from his leader perspective.  The students were exposed to things they had never seen before, such as the Blue Man Group and the vast city of Chicago. So, to find out more, I sat down and interviewed a couple guys who went on the trip to see what they got out of the unique experience. 

“We had a bunch of great clinics there,” senior Ethan Brandt said. “There were very experienced music teachers who really taught us a lot. It gave us a new perspective on the music aside from Mr. Manzi’s. It was great to see a city like Chicago.”

“I thought it was a good time, it’s nice to have the whole group go,” sophomore Steven Alvarado said. “We all have the same interest in music, so it was nice to have a common bond, but everyone is still different. The atmosphere of the trip was a lot of fun. We had a piece already prepared, but we added some people from the other band. We put in a lot of hours. We took time away from other things we could be doing to play music and to actually prepare the pieces. It was really nice to see all of that pay off.”