The Bells Will Be Ringing the Bands Arrival

An interview with various band members who are participating in the upcoming winter band performance.



Connor Shapiro practicing his trumpet in preparation for the performance.

Cayla Pierce, Staff Reporter

Deck the halls, the instruments are playing. Grayslake Central’s band program are busy practicing and preparing for its winter performance on Dec. 15, 2022.  As the time of the event approaches, percussion player; Mathias Zipfel, trombone player; Alexandra Marquez, and french horn player; Rebecca Sulko prepare thoroughly for their performance. 

Zipfel, a senior, is a versatile percussionist who has participated in the band for seven years. Zipfel stated that he has stuck with band for so long because “it’s fun and it’s something to do as well, just playing music.” He plays a range of instruments depending on the season of band. During marching season, Zipfel plays snare drum, and then for concert season, he switches to whatever instrument is needed. This could range from xylophone to snare drum or bass drum. When asked why he chose percussion, he said, “I was always a drummer. I started messing around with a drum kit when I was five. When in fourth grade they gave us an instrument. I came into it saying I’m going to do percussion. I know I’m going to do percussion. They said to pick three instruments. I did three horns. I want to go back and slap myself. I played trumpet for a year, hated it, then quit. I then rejoined percussion in sixth grade.”  He said that band was a fun experience, “, especially during basketball season. We get the drum kits. Those are always fun to mess around with.” Zipfel has said that band has taught him togetherness and teamwork. The hardest thing for Zipfel is that the music he plays, at least for percussion, has a lot of weird time signatures and switching around instruments in a fast manner. For the winter band performance, Zipfel says he’s looking forward to playing music from the  ‘Polar Express.’

Marquez, a sophomore, plays trombone in the Symphonic Band, which is an honors band. She has played in band for six years. Marquez stated, “I’ve always really enjoyed music before I started playing trombone. I played piano for five years. I found the trombone. I enjoyed it and then continued with it because it’s fun. It’s something to do. In fourth grade, they had all the instruments lined up, and the trombone was one of the shortest lines.” She says that band is a generally positive experience, and she has had some great band teachers. The switch to high school, for her, was a welcome one, saying “It’s fun because we have marching band and our concert season.” Marquez’s favorite thing about band, besides music, is having family and friends come and watch everything come together.  With the good comes the bad, and band for Marquez is a lot of work and practice, “I practice on the weekends, whenever I can.” The piece she is most looking forward to playing is ‘Bells of Christmas’, which is “Christmas songs that all have the word ‘bell’ in them”. 

Sulko, a senior, plays the french horn. She is a section leader during marching band and a student leader during concerts. Sulko has been in band for eight years. “I really enjoy my instrument. It’s really fun to play and be in a musical setting with other people. I think music brings people together.” When she picked instruments for the first time, she chose the french horn because, “I thought it was the prettiest and the coolest.” Her experience in band, like Marquez, has been positive. “Generally, there’s ups and downs as with everything, but I think it’s been really nice to have a new director (Zachary Geller) that pushes us to do better things than what we might have done with our past director.” This year Sulko has joined jazz band on trumpet because “I thought I would try something new. It’s been a bit of a learning curve. It’s sort of similar, but sort of not. It’s been helpful because I’ve had a lot of people encouraging me.” Sulko enjoys the social aspect of band, and says band has taught her how to listen better. “It’s a skill a lot of people think they have but sometimes it’s something you don’t realize you don’t have a full extent of until you sit down and hear 20 different things at once.” Along with listening, she says it’s been challenging since with Covid, band numbers dropped and “it’s been hard to get people invested in music.” Like Zipfel, Sulko is also looking forward to playing ‘Polar Express.’

So the day of the winter band performance arrives, band students of all sections have been practicing and are ready to give the audience a fun experience.