Students sit in awe listening to the music that the band program has spent months practicing on. The festiveness of the day has everyone excited and ready for the end of the school day so that they can listen to all the bands that they missed out on and the fun games that follow.
This years thirty-fifth annual Play-A-Thon on Nov. 8, was a seventeen hour extravaganza for all students, staff, family and friends to enjoy. Each year the band program puts on a day full of music and commotion to show all the hard work that band students do. Along with helping set up and tear down for Play-A-Thon, many students help raise money for the program with pledge parties where they meet up at a house and go around the neighborhood playing music and receiving donations. This year the band program has raised over $33,000 and this money will help sustain the program and help pay for things like sheet music and travel costs. “This year was great. We really reached out to the community,” said band director Joshua Murray.
The theme for this years Play-A-Thon was fiesta, which many band students liked for its potential to build upon. “There were a lot of things to do with it, like with the costumes and food,” said junior Ajay Patel.
Since the program receives a small budget for the annual event, they rely heavily on their own decorations that the students provide. This gives the students the opportunity to get more involved with band. “I was on the decoration committee and I was food chair. Also, I went to pledge parties to raise money for play-a-thon,” said senior Aria Tung.
When the day finally arrived for the band to display their musical talents, students were excited and ready for the fun that was soon to come. Even when students were unable to go see the band play, there was still a chance of the band coming to them instead. Some of the band students would walk around the campus playing their instruments and would occasionally stop into classes for a minute to play some music. “I liked that the band played songs that everybody knew,” said junior Shahab Monfared.
After school, the students set up activities like face painting, a drum circle, and a musical petting zoo, to add some extra fun to the night. “Last year, I did face painting and this year I did the musical petting zoo where people can look at all the different instruments and see what they feel like,” said senior Kimberly Dunning.
In addition to the games and music, students from elementary schools and middle schools like Mission, Deterding, Del Dayo, Arden, and Churchill, would come play with the band and see what a high school band looks like.
Many band students were enthusiastic, but also a little intimidated to have to perform in front of their peers and loved ones. Their performances gave their fellow classmates a new perspective on what it’s like to be a band kid. “It’s fun to perform, because Rio students don’t know much about the band program and this was a way to show what it’s really about,” said Tung.