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December 21, 2004 > Marching Their Way to Spain - MSJ Band Goes to Spain

Marching Their Way to Spain - MSJ Band Goes to Spain

by Nitasha Sharma

"Practice, practice, practice, the Spanish people are going to love you all," said Mission San Jose Band Director, Monica Kraft. The band and orchestra students of MSJ High School in Fremont listen to their director at a rehearsal, barely containing their excitement. In just a few short days, they will leave for Spain to perform in two cities.

The band travels twice a year to various locations to perform. This time they will tour Madrid and Barcelona, performing in various venues in the two cities. The departure date is set for Dec. 26 and they will return on Jan. 3. The students are hard at work trying to make all the necessary preparations. "There's so much to get done and so little time," said Co-band Manager and Co-trip Coordinator, Carly Lewis. The students check of the days on a "Spain" countdown poster they made.

The band will perform at the Tres Cantos Art Centre and along the Calle Carmen with the Riverside Community College All Star Band together at some of the venues. The students plan to shop and sightsee when not performing. At the end of the week, the students will celebrate a traditional Spanish New Year's Eve by ringing a bell 12 times and eating 12 grapes at midnight.

Although they will focus on mostly American music, the pieces are diverse. From Chanukah Overture to An Irving Berlin Christmas, they plan to cover a wide variety of the genres of American music.

The marching band competes in many California Band Reviews and has made appearances at Newark Days and the Oakland parade. The band, comprised of 100-125 students, not including the orchestra, is well known in the music world. They score well in competitions like the CMEA and have sent several students to both the Fremont Unified School District Honor Band and the California All-State Band & Wind Symphony each year.

The MSJ Orchestra is the only public school orchestra in the Fremont Unified School District. They performed at the MSJ High School's Winter Concert on Dec 16. The band has been invited to many international festivals by foreign organizations.

Due to school district budget cuts and the growing population of the band, there is a great shortage of supplies. The tattered old instruments are constantly breaking. In addition to the lack of basic supplies, the budget does not allow for instrument repair. As a result, the students will see a increase in music fees. "Any donations are greatly appreciated," said Kraft, "I would rather say I can't use something someone brought in than say I don't have something I need."

For more information or to make a donation to the Mission San Jose Band and Orchestra, please call Monica Kraft at (510) 668-6077.

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