“It’s fun to try and do that, and it gives me the happiness and energy to make it almost real...”
A Profile on Mountain View’s Most prominent Musician
written by Dean Rossi
finally arrives and a bell welcomes its arrival. While the seconds passed by slowly, the time Chris spent waiting was worth it. Silence covers the once lively Packard Hall music room. A lime green case is taken out of the orchestra storage space. Latches quickly fly off as a greater sight is waiting beyond the plastic. Inside lays a beautiful cello, just as prepared to make music as he is. Chris pulls over a chair and, with a quick bow flick if his right hand and an immediate gesture of his left hand over the neck, decides to play. As the bow slowly caresses the strings, music fills the room and creates the vibrancy and beauty of an entire symphonic orchestra. Majesty consumes the listener’s mind, until Jason Kneebone takes out his trumpet to practice high note screaming... This type of scenario is common place for Chris Egerton, who is known around Mountain View High School’s Music Program as one of the most avid participants. With brown hair, deep green eyes, calyces-covered hands, and an unchanging look of determination, he is somewhat difficult to miss Between Symphonic Band,
Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra, and perhaps more groups in the winter, he is a somewhat iconic character with an array of various instruments. However, the majority of Mountain View’s students would recognize him for his work with the Spartan Marching Band and Color Guard. While he marched with the tenor saxophone section for his first three years, he is closing his career with the group as the backfield drum major, or conductor. While his responsibility during shows is to keep everybody in tempo, he spends most of his rehearsal time on the field. Whether it is running reps for individuals to land their coordinates or running through tricky sixteenth note runs with other sections, through blisteringly cold mornings to the sundrenched weekends, he stands as a respected authority figure in the entire community. All of this became possible because of the support the community has given him to participate in these activities, but the financial assistance does not come as easily as it used to. With the economy in a shell of its former glory, classes like these struggle to keep from going under. Even well funded areas, such as Mountain View, neglect the plight of the Music Program.
What baffled Chris more than anything in becoming drum major was the positive reception among new marchers this year. As said by one freshman musician, Marissa Carico, “I’m not surprised. I think he has that personality and people find it easy to relate to. He’s not rude or mean to the freshmen. He treats them like friends of his own age.” Perhaps Chris does not realize this, but Mountain View’s Music Program has changed him. He radiates with a type of humbleness that people have not always seen within drum majors, whom are essentially student leaders. While his new love for rookies shocked many veterans of Marching Band, Megan Bordelon of Loyola University New Orlean’s 2010 class would likely expect this sort of behavior from Chris. She claims that, “‘Many people are looking for the solution to producing higher achieving students who will become successful, contributing citizens. The problems in education are deeper than ineffective schools or teachers in that we fail to educate the whole student—mind and soul. I believe music is the tool that could break the barriers which have prevented so many students from achieving, contributing, and even more so…finding true fulfillment,’” (Loyola Press Release). It is the sort of change that was observable in Chris over the course of his time in high school, but what sort of event inspired Chris to even join the band? “I was bored... Seriously. I think it was mainly because I didn’t want to play in the Symphonic Band. I’d rather
do the vvvvmarching band instead because I started tenor sax again in eighth grade. Yeah, I think that was it,” said Chris as he stated in an interview earlier in the season. What began as a simple idea unfolded into one of the tightest bonds of friends and learning experiences he has ever known. As far as music goes, it started for Chris in grade school. He commented that “...our school did an assembly or something and they had a guy playing the cello and they said it was a cool instrument because I think they needed more people playing the cello and I was like, ‘Oh, I should do that.’ So, I did.” What he did not see at the time is that his passion would take him through several years of rehearsal, hours of memorized pieces, and countless sectional hangouts. Assuming that the average person reading this profile has listened to any classical music, it is probably safe to assume they are aware of the various rumors and studies surrounding it. Zach Walton of WebProNews agrees that “Music training definitely enhances your ability to hear, but it does so much more. Music is essentially the steroids for your brain. It makes children better at reading and math. There are probably other benefits that we don’t even know about yet. Most important of all, however, is that music is just fun. Inspiring a love of music into children at a young age guarantees them a life of at least occasional happiness as music is a great stress reliever,” (Walton).
From the eyes of a marcher, this sort of growth can be apparent through even high school. Paul Baldi, professional drummer and alumnus of four marching bands, can testify. He claims that, ”’Marching band is music, memorization, eye-hand coordination and good for your posture. It may hurt to be told your paradiddles suck, but it builds character. It’s a team sport. You create friendships that become your buddies for life. High school music is something focused to do. You don’t have to be great to belong, and members immediately have something in common.’” (DiFore). Similarly to fellow members of the band CAKE, marching and music helped him through the critical steps of high school, letting him easily adjust while moving from state to state. In spite of the joy and growth Chris, as well as many others, have gained from music, it continually becomes neglected in lieu of core classes, like math and science. It comes at a literal price, unfortunately. While there are fundraising opportunities for students to pay for their fair share, they are tossed into the chaos of a student’s life. As both musicians and normal students know, work is plentiful and sleep is scarce. We perform together from time to time, raising whatever we can. While a previous endeavor in May amounted to a pitiful sum of six dollars, it did purchase a piece of chocolate cake from the café we played outside for.
For now, all the students must rely on donations for the Music Program to stay alive. Chris, as such an eager musician, is well aware of what sort of consequences may arise from being underfunded. Despite the fact that the Music Program is one of the school’s most prominent aspects, next to Spartan Robotics, it does not receive nearly enough to reflect that. As Marissa knows, “I feel like, because of Marching Band, I have a lot more confidence in myself because coming, I didn’t have much confidence in anything I was doing. Being in Marching Band, I feel like I can push myself now because carrying the baritone was not easy at first. I feel like having to hold up a baritone for that long, you really need to push yourself. So. I think I’ve changed a lot in the past few weeks.” The benefit is there, even though it might not easily be seen. Fortunately, musicians know how to make themselves heard. Of course, Chris would be extremely interested in the preservation and advancement of Mountain View’s Music Program. I wanted to know if he was as passionate toward the experiences of others as he is toward the music, so I asked him if experiences like his are important. He told me “I don’t know what experiences like this mean, but if it means anything related to the Music Program, then ‘yes’.”