New Opportunities for Students Interested in Band!


Photo shows the Stage Band (to be renamed Modern Music Ensemble) performing at their last Winter Concert.

Shannon Hayes, Student Journalist

Change is coming to the music department next year, both inside and outside the classroom.

For starters, Stage Band, the 9-12 ensemble, will now be a class offered outside regular school hours. Under the name Modern Music Ensemble, students get the chance to rehearse and perform Jazz, Rock, Pop, and Fusion music. Two years of playing and performing with an instrument will still be required, but it will now meet like an extracurricular activity – roughly two hours a week.

These changes stem from a desire to get more students involved in the performing arts. “We want to give the students more opportunity, because scheduling with classes and AP courses could be tough,” Mr. Alcius said. “So, given the extra outlet for music outside school…we think it will be more beneficial to students.” Mr. O’Dell agrees. “We feel that [band] will be accessible to more people and more people could join…We’re trying to get out of the mold of ‘we’ve always done it that way’ and figure out new ways to get more students involved.” The two took some inspiration from Mr. DeAngelo and how he schedules rehearsals for Select Chorus – on Sunday afternoons. More students will get the chance to participate by meeting once or twice a week after school.

Modern Music Ensemble will actually be directed by Mr. Alcius, as Mr. O’Dell takes over teaching music electives. “Right now the plan is for me to teach music theory and foundations of music,” Mr. O‘Dell told Voice of the Saints. “And one of the general music classes either seventh or eighth grade.”

On the band front, Mr. Alcius is very excited to manage Modern Music Ensemble. “Performance is my goal. I went to school for performance.” He has the experience for it too, with both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s of Music in Performance. However, Mr. Alcius prefers not to view himself as a director or a conductor, but instead as a supervisor of the group. In his words: “Music should be more about the musicians, not director only. I’m only there to push them to the right direction.”

Many students might be concerned about the fate of Modern Music Ensemble (Stage Band), with members Ashton McCann and Devin Thai graduating this year. Both Ashton and Devin are New York State All-State High School musicians, so their loss will be a setback. However, Mr. O’Dell and Mr. Alcius are both confident in the ensemble’s future. “I have found over [my] years of teaching that when you lose, you also gain again,” Mr. O’Dell explained. “The ensemble will continue to go on with the people that are here…It always happens that you have great people that graduate, but you also have great people coming up to replace them.”

These new students will have a new music room to see next year, freshly painted and decked out. “We’re hoping to change up the room,” Mr. Alcius mentioned. “Hoping to paint the room a nice fun pastel color, hoping re-doing the steps as well. Adding some new chairs and stands as well into the room.” Information for interested volunteers has been sent out to the school along with the school newsletter. The tentative dates for the renovation are July 24th – August 3rd.

In future years, Mr. O’Dell would also like to consider starting an instrumental lesson program in the CSBC elementary schools. If possible later down the line, he’d love to travel to the different schools and teach flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and percussion. Touring around the schools lead to helping cultivate a love of music in the next wave of musicians.