#VanguardStrong: The Comeback of the West Boca Band


Josefia Frydenborg

The Vanguard Performing at a West Boca football game during halftime.

Jonah Lynne, Co-Editor

With school coming back in person, so are all of the campus organizations that help bring the spirit, the pep, and the vibe back to West Boca. 

Since the school’s opening, the West Boca Vanguard Band has led the cheers of fans in the stadium as well as represented the school in music competitions throughout the state of Florida. Yet, much like many other schools, the band couldn’t make music as one cohesive team in the 2020-21 school year, something that many members feel is the number one reason why they joined.

Instead of sitting beside classmates, band students were “virtually” next to each other on the Google Meet grid, with everyone playing along (on mute) to recordings of songs rather than making the music themselves. 

Carly Fellman, 11, describes her experience through COVID last school year: “I didn’t really get the same connections as being together in class,” she said, “It got boring.”

Yet, although the 2020-21 school year was difficult to endure, she was much more grateful for the people she couldn’t see during the height of the pandemic.

“It’s definitely more enjoyable now that we’re back in school,” Fellman said when asked about returning back to campus. “Mr. Shane is really good and is making it really fun for us.”

Although she’s not planning on continuing to play clarinet after high school, there are still some things Fellman will continue to cherish from her band experience. “I’ve made some long-lasting friendships that I hope will continue after I graduate.”

Brogan Bernstein, 11, shared similar sentiments when reflecting on his time in band. “Working with a group was difficult,” he said when asked about being in a virtual band class.“It was tough to have group interaction, which is a big part of what makes band fun.”

This year, however, is a totally different story for him. “Hanging out with my trombone section, performing at the football games — that’s what I like the best about band. Having friends to talk to everyday and working with Mr. Shane has also been really enjoyable.”

Reading music is a very unique skill, one that Matthew Henao, 12, does not take for granted. “Reading notes and counting rhythms at the same time is something I find really interesting about music.” He said. “Using both halves of your brain at the same time is challenging, but fun.” 

Speaking from personal experience, I feel that band is something that is most enjoyable when done with others. While music has been expressed as a solo endeavor by many, playing in a group with a common goal and common purpose can be really powerful. Fellman, Bernstein, and Henao all concurred — the group is stronger than the sum of its parts.

You can follow the Vanguard on Instagram @wbhsvanguard and on Facebook @WBocaRatonHSB. Their upcoming Synergy Concert, alongside the rest of the West Boca performing arts department, is Wednesday, October 13th. Tickets will be for sale online within the coming week.