Benefit concert strikes a chord with audience


Miles Bennett

On Wednesday, Oct. 17, the Ventura High School music department had their annual Fall Benefit Concert. The concert made a large amount of money for the department and was met with high praise from audience members.

“I was bopping. The music was rad,” said senior Miranda Burke, “And when they played the Star Trek theme I was like ‘this is so sick.’”

Junior Max Bolle commented: “The [Benefit Concert] was a really great example of how hard the [music department] works for the shows and how dedicated of a teacher Mr. Hunt is.”

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Before the concert began, James and Stacia Helmer, avid supporters of the VHS music department and parents of the late Cameron Helmer, delivered a speech expressing their support for the department.

After their speech, the Helmers announced that they will be donating $16,000 to the department in their son’s honor.

“We were all greatly appreciative of the gesture,” said Paul Hunt, head of VHS’s music department. He continued stating, “It will help a lot of students in the future which is something Cameron would have wanted.”

And on the concert itself, Hunt had this to say: “I think there was a good variety and students worked hard. [There were] no setbacks or big changes, [but] logistics were a challenge with 200 musicians moving around.”

The players themselves had opinions that slightly deviated from the consensus of the audience. The music department students’ general consensus was that the concert went well, but most had a few gripes and criticisms.

“The concert went okay,” said senior Naiya Larimer, who plays Tenor Saxophone in the Honors Wind Ensemble and the Jazz Ensemble.

Larimer stated, “There were things that could have gone better. I think [that playing] dynamics with us [has] always been a huge issue for the entire department and making sure to follow the conductor was a hard thing, but like I said eventually we got back on track.” Senior Mikayla Williams, who plays bassoon for the Concert Band and performs vocals for Jazz Band, stated, “I think we did our best and there’s always room for improvement and I want to see what we’ll do next time.”

“Something special was watching the percussionists and their heads as they were counting internally, but also keeping rhythm with their whole body,” said Williams. “[The percussionists] switching back and forth between like one percussion instrument to like the next within seconds was just amazing to watch.”

Freshman Ximena Martinez, who plays viola in String Orchestra Honors, shared some pre-concert worries that some students of the department shared: “I think it went pretty well,” stated Martinez. “Everyone was freaking out and talking about how it would be really bad but in the end everyone was surprised by its success.”

She added that as this was her first concert in the department, her worries were heightened.

Hunt added that that Honors Wind Ensemble will be having a concert on Nov. 14. Admission is free and the concert starts at 7:00 p.m.