Sound Boards Continue Symphonic Band Tradition

Take a walk down the impossibly long Fine Arts Hall and visit the band room. Thread your way through the grid of chairs to the back left corner, and look up. Here you will encounter an intriguing collection of musical memorabilia, ranging from festively decorated instruments and music stands to articles of clothing suitable only for a marching band. Yet even higher, mounted on either wall, are what appear to be a series of interestingly shaped signs. These are sound boards, which over time have become part of an ongoing musical tradition at Dimond High. Musical ensemble classes, such as Symphonic Band, are different from any other class in a key way. In a regular class, such as a mathematics class, effort and success are largely an individual ordeal, where one’s grade depends directly upon how much an individual has practiced and studied. In Symphonic Band, however, the quality of the band’s sound is the product of every musician’s success. This means that the band essentially sounds about as good as its worst player. The interdependence of musicians in an ensemble forces Symphonic Band members to interact and communicate with one another in the production of a piece, making students get to know one another relatively closely within a short amount of time. Before long, the band acts as one very large, diverse and slightly disfunctional family. It is through these musical bonds that a desire to commemorate each outgoing group of senior Symphonic Band members arises. The tradition of producing a senior decoration for the band room began in 2006, when a wall panel was embellished with musical notes and the names of the 2006 Symphonic Band seniors. A banner was produced in the year 2007, and in 2008, the first sound board was decorated. These boards hang high on every wall of the band room, and are shaped much like the shell of a turtle. This design allows them to modify the acoustics of the room, giving the otherwise flat contours of the room more resonant properties. As this school year comes to an end, the Symphonic seniors of 2013 are now tasked with the creation of their own sound board. It will be the sixth decorated soundboard in the band room upon its completion.