Spotlight: Spectrum

School band looks forward to their final year, remains hopeful for future

Julia Robbins, Staff Writer

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Look back five years and you can find the beginnings of the student band ‘Spectrum’ in the school’s official Middle Division band. Now, five band members united by a love of music continue to perform.

Bassist, pianist, and singer James Gluck (12) came up with the name Spectrum, but before the band hit the main stages of the Upper Division (UD), you might have heard of them  as “Middle School Band,” “Concrete Jungle,” and “Atlantic Crescent.”

The inspiration for the current name of the band comes from its diversity, as it is comprised of individuals of a variety of genders, races, and religions, guitarist and bassist Olivia Kester (12) said.

With Gluck and lead singer Eunice Bae (12) as the original members, Spectrum continued to expand until high school. Kester and guitarist Allen Park (12) joined later in middle school and drummer Nyle Hutchinson (12) joining in ninth grade.

“In seventh grade, a trial for the band started, because [Former MD Dean Lynne] Hirschhorn always wanted there to be a middle school band,” Gluck said. Hirschhorn wanted to add energy to Middle Mania with a performance by a student band, she said, and felt that the students “performed beautifully” at the event.

While the initial purpose of the band was to perform for Middle Mania, a division wide year-end competition, the band expanded their venue, performing at assemblies and other division wide events.

As a result, the band rehearsed frequently throughout the year. “We’d practice once or twice a month during a free period in the recording studio,” Gluck said.

Former Math Teacher Ben Childs was instrumental in supervising the band during their practice sessions and helping the band work through the creative process, Hirschhorn said. “Mr. Childs asked a lot of them because they saw how talented they were.”

After middle school, the band continued performing. “Once it came to high school it was our own decision to keep the band going,” Park said. “We have to schedule [events] ourselves and practice on our own instead of having an adult say “you should practice at this time.”

One of the biggest strengths of the band is the strong friendships of its members.

Bae and her bandmates feel lucky to be part of such a “tight-knit group,” she said. All the members were friends before Spectrum and are even closer now because of the time spent together as a band, Bae said.

“We have a really good chemistry,” Hutchinson said. Hutchinson’s favorite parts of being on the band are the “rehearsals and the moments leading up to performances.”

Not only has the band brought the group closer together, their musical ability has developed over the years as well.“I think that my skills in electric guitar and using a pick really advanced because of the band,” Park said.

Of the band members, Hutchinson, Kester, Park, and Gluck have played their respective instruments from a young age. Hutchinson has been drumming since fifth grade and sees the drums as the first instrument he was “called to.” “My mom always tells me that when I was really little,” he said. “In the middle of [Church services], I would stand near the drum set,” Hutchinson said.

Unlike her bandmates’ early callings, Bae never foresaw her singing career. She doesn’t take vocal lessons and her only prior singing experience was as part of a choral group elective in a piano focused program, she said.

Band members are helpful before performances in calming each other down, Bae said. Spectrum has performed in a variety of school wide assemblies, a talent show, and the school’s American Cancer Society fundraiser, Relay for Life, over the past two years.

One of the events that the band members are most looking forward to this year is the first ever “Battle of the Bands,” a city wide competition in which the winners donate a sum of the competition’s profits to a charity of their choosing. “We’re trying to put this together because it’s our last year here and we want to do something really meaningful as a band,” she added.

Throughout the many years of Spectrum’s existence, one of its greatest challenges has been overcoming time constraints. It’s difficult to find times to meet, Kester said, especially given that she leaves before H period every day for crew practice.

Hoping to end senior year on a high note, Hutchinson, along with the other members of the band, are eager for a group of underclassmen to form a band for next year.

“We want to encourage younger students to make a group, because we still want there to be a group after we graduate,” Park said.

“I’m talking to a lot of different underclassmen, working out ways to help them build their own band,” Hutchinson said.

So for any underclassmen thinking about starting a band, perhaps the best thing to think about are Gluck’s following words: “It’s just fun to play music with people who you like.”