by Elizabeth Penn ’16
Having just returned from a successful music adjudication in Nashville, senior Elizabeth Penn reminisces about her time as a member of the NDP band.
I have been in involved with music ever since I was very young. Thank you, mom, for those piano lessons at age four that have continued until this day and for flute lessons which began in third grade!
Band has certainly been one of my favorite parts about NDP—I’ve been involved 6th grade! NDP’s concert band has been such a rewarding experience—I have made so many friends spanning all grade levels. We all practice together, make mistakes together, laugh together, eat pizza on performance days together, and make music together.
As much as I love NDP, school can be academically stressful. Band allows me to take a breath and de-stress. Although practicing can be long and diligent work, it is very calming to play music. Ask anyone in band! Often class will be over and girls will be saying, “Let’s play The Lion King!” or “Let’s play Les Mis!” I cannot imagine having to leave my fellow band members and Mr. Dzbinski (a.k.a. Mr. D.) in a few weeks!
There are many band traditions:
- Every year, the band president and officers decorate the band room for Christmas. We go all out! Two trees, 10 strings of lights, multiple wreaths, stockings hung by the whiteboard with care (in hopes that St. Nick would soon be there) …and a partridge in a pear tree. We also hang a stocking for every senior band member and, of course, Mr. D. Throughout the Christmas season, band members will put notes or a piece of candy in a senior’s stocking. The decorating and activities makes playing Christmas music even more fun and festive. We have many concerts throughout the year but my favorite is the Christmas concert, which the parents and the NDP community eagerly await.
- At every band concert we eat dinner together and watch movies. The band room smells like pizza for a few days, but the tradition is so much fun it’s worth it!
- Last is the adored music adjudication trip when all the school’s music groups—orchestra, choirs, and band—get to spend time together. We each gain about three pounds during the trip, but it is so worth it! After performing, we anxiously await the results at the award ceremony. Once the winners have been announced, (and most of the time NDP wins!) we all cheer for each other. We are so proud of each other and are proud to be a part of NDP. We celebrate our love of music and our experiences in the music program together.
As I head off to Lafayette College this fall, I may not know yet what major I want to pursue, but I do know that I am going to be in the concert band. After participating in a band for 10 years, I know it is something that I do not want to stop. I am very grateful for all of my experiences in band at NDP and for Mr. D. I have learned so much and made great friendships. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences throughout my years at Notre Dame.