The Foothill Symphonic Winds has been very fortunate to have the support of the Blach Intermediate School. When rehearsal space at Foothill College became unavailable due to remodeling on campus, the FSW had an opportunity to use the Music Room (H1) at Blach Intermediate School in Los Altos. Vivian McNulty was the music director at the school at the time and a member of the FSW (French horn). She assisted with the arrangements for our band to utilize the Music Room at the school on Wednesday evenings. The remodeling of the rehearsal space at Foothill College ended up creating a space too small for the FSW to utilize. The members of the FSW, who appreciated the parking and convenient access at Blach, suggested that money that otherwise would be needed to pay for parking at Foothill College might allow the FSW to remain at Blach and an agreement was reached that has continued after the FSW could no longer be connected with Foothill College. Each session, the FSW members have voluntarily donated to the Los Altos School District the $20 they would otherwise have had to pay for parking on the Foothill College’s main campus. These donated funds are earmarked for the Blach Music Fund that has permitted them to repair old instruments and purchase new ones.
The students at Blach were curious about the community band that was using their rehearsal space and providing contributions toward their music program. With a little more than a week’s preparation in January 2005, the two groups’ conductors arranged a concert in Blach’s multipurpose room with the combined bands. The Blach students were preparing for a concert and it was decided that the combined bands would play a few of their more difficult compositions, so that the students would have the benefit of the mentoring and solid reading from the FSW musicians. The FSW also performed some of the works that it was rehearsing, to demonstrate some of the quality wind literature available. The Blach students’ parents were invited to the concert, which was received with much enthusiasm. The concert was covered by the Los Altos Town Crier, to whom we are thankful for the photos accompanying this section. Similar combined tutorial concerts have been held every year since.
The students of Blach’s band in 2005 were appreciative of the opportunity and wrote letters describing their experience. Some of the quotes were:
I didn’t think it was possible to play that fast – Leslie Hamachi
I didn’t know they could be that good – Neil Lingarkar
I want to thank you for helping us become better and donating your time to help us. After playing with you, I played much better than I had before. I also was able to play the song with more accents and interpretation than I was able to before. Following our rehearsal with you, our band played the “Song of the Whale” (all the) way through without stopping or losing the momentum of our tempo. I especially like the song “Porgy and Bess” by George Gershwin. You played all your (music) exceptionally well. – Micah Lerner, 3rd trumpet