Newsbreaker News: A Weekend of Hard Work for Student Musicians of Central Coast

CABRILLO COLLEGE — On February 2nd, twenty PGHS students headed over to Cabrillo College to experience their first rehearsal with other student members of the Central Coast Section. The band, directed by Mr. Jon Nordgren, and and the orchestra, conducted by Mr. Thomas Loewenheim, rehearsed Thursday night, all day Friday, and before the concert Saturday. Even though the honor band and orchestra only received less than twenty-four hours to rehearse together, the concert proved a success.

A PGHS student who had gone to the concert stated that she liked the songs that the band played–especially “Fugue in Yankee Doodle”, adding that “the person playing snare was very good.”

A parent who attended the concert agreed, saying “ I liked everything… especially ‘The Cement Ship’. I also thought the vocal performance in the beginning by the band was very moving, as well as the piece itself [‘The American Elegy’].”

Another parent who I interviewed discovered that she had walked out of the concert knowing more about the history of the Central Coast than before. “Living on the coast, I didn’t even know about the cement ship until it appeared in the news recently. Now I know more about the Cement Ship and its significance.”

But what is the Cement Ship? Well, a literal concrete ship: the SS. Palo Alto, built as a tanker during World War I, too late to actually see any combat. After various side jobs as an amusement ship and fishing pier, the Palo Alto currently serves as an artificial reef in Seacliff Beach, Aptos. In 2005, oil was discovered on the wildlife in the area, oil that was traced back to the Cement Ship. Thankfully, no oil leaked into the ocean, with experts speculating that the wildlife must have come into contact with the oil while diving into the boat for fish. Since then, the Palo Alto has continued to deteriorate, with a storm just last month tearing the stern off the ship. The director, Mr. Nordgren had composed “The Cement Ship” just twenty to thirty years earlier, and as the band played the song during the concert, a slide show showed the audience chronological pictures of the Cement Ship.

Overall, the three-day CCS event allowed PGHS students to meet new friends, bond with other extremely talented musicians, and create beautiful music.

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