PaliHi Band Prepares for Competition Season

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Palisades High School band instructor Peter Ye (left) works privately with students.

By CHAZ PLAGER

School is back in session, and the unchanging traditions of the fall semester stand firm, such as marching band. Those who live near Palisades Charter High School can often hear the PaliHi band practicing in the evening at the Stadium by the Sea.

However, the fall winds also bring with it new changes for the band. After three years as the leader of the music program, Tyler Farrell has taken an administrative position at the school, and Peter Ye has taken his place.

This doesn’t seem particularly consequential at first glance, but perhaps understanding the depth of the Pali marching band will put that into perspective.

The full marching band and color guard consists of 45-50 members, and as the semester is just beginning, those numbers are subject to change. To participate in competitions, it is roughly $3,000 to transport and feed the team per event.

This year there will be competitions on October 8 (Ayala High School), October 29 (El Camino College), November 12 (Trabuco Hills High School) and November 19 (Chaffey High School).

Annually, the cost of the marching band program reaches over $100,000, which includes costumes, and pays salaries for coaches, including the color guard coach Allison Wyant and percussionist coach Mike Schlatter.

The school does not fund the program, but this year for the first time, a new PaliHi bus policy will ensure that transportation to competitions is partially funded.

The music program still relies on “Fair Share” donations from the band members to make up the difference.

Ye comes into the midst of this program, after a serving last year as a student teacher under Farrell.  He was a music education major at the UCLA Herb Albert School of Music.

Growing up in Oak Park, Ye began playing piano when he was six. He tried oboe in middle school, and then switched to percussion. In high school, he was not only the drum major of the marching band, but also played in the jazz band.

He has worked with renown conductors Robert Ponto (Oregon University) and Anthony Maiello (George Mason University) and studied conducting under Maestro Neil Thomson (Orquestra Filarmônica de Goiás) and Dr. Scott Weiss (University of Southern Carolina) at the LA Conducting Workshop and Competition, where he was a semi-finalist.

More importantly, band members seem to have taken a shine to him. One member said about Ye, “He’s the GOAT, for real, no cap.” Translation: students like him.

The competition show for the marching band this year is titled “Out of Darkness,” and was written by Farrell and Slatter, and the music comes from a variety of genres.

Farrell said the theme of the 2022 show is “leaving the darkness and entering the light”, and choreography and music will reflect that.

When asked what the hardest part is about performing at a high level in marching band Ye said, “It’s that you only have one chance – you just keep practicing for only one shot, and when you get out there you leave it all on the field, and if you didn’t get it right, that’s too bad.”

Ye supported by a star cast of student musicians – and with Ye, Farrell and Slatter involved, it’s safe to say that the Dolphins are in “good fins.”

If a resident would like to support the band or music program at Palihi, visit: https://www.palihighbands.com/

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