Photo by Ani Weitzel, student photographer

The Maconaquah High School band had a large audience of eager ears Friday morning.

The band performed several pieces of music for all of Maconaquah Elementary School, which includes more than 700 students grades 2-5. Director Matthew Carnagua also fielded questions from elementary students, turning the concert into a casual and fun introduction to the band program.

Carnagua said putting on a concert for Mac El students is “vital” to introduce the entire scope of the band program to elementary students. He said many students only see what the band does at home football and basketball games, but that is “just a fraction” of what the program does.

“I hope Mac El students gain an appreciation for what we do here in the Maconaquah band program,” he said.

Carnagua said the band is “as professional as possible” for every other concert, but they opted for casual clothes on Friday so Mac El students could “see themselves” on the stage as high school students. He said this is especially important for fifth-grade students as they plan their sixth-grade classes at Maconaquah Middle School.

Photo by Ani Weitzel, student photographer

Maconaquah Elementary School students raise their hands to ask questions during a Maconaquah High School band concert Friday. The high school band played several songs for all Mac El students and Director Matthew Carnagua answered the elementary school students’ questions. Photo by Ani Weitzel, student photographer

Fourth graders Lauren Ramos and Caitlyn Farnell both enjoyed the music and have interest in joining the band program when they’re older.

Ramos said her older brother and sister are both in the band as high school freshmen.

“I want to join the band and play the flute,” Ramos said. “It looks really pretty, and my sister plays it.”

Ramos said she learned that there are different aspects to the band program, including winter percussion, of which she was previously unaware.

Farnell described the songs as “really exciting.”

She currently plays the recorder at Mac El, which is related to a flute. Farnell said she is interested in joining the band when she gets older to play trumpet or percussion.

“All the instruments together make a cool sound,” she said. “If you’re in the band, it’s like one big family.”

Mac El Principal Kelly McPike said she was “grateful” for Carnagua providing the opportunity to the elementary students.

“My hope is that with these kinds of experiences our students will be introduced to the performing arts and the possibilities that exist for them in their school career,” she said.

She said many kids need a “spark” to get interested in the performing arts, and this exposure could provide it.

“As a former ‘band kid,’ I understand the impact that programs such as this have on students,” McPike said. “The performing arts teach students skills related to the arts, but they also teach life skills such as responsibility and perseverance.”

Carnagua said the high school performers also benefited from the performance.

“Most of the performances the band program gives are for strangers, so we value every chance we get to perform for people here in our own community,” he said. “Also, they increase their sense of ownership of the program as they play a part in recruiting the next generation of band students.”

Upcoming band performances:

● All winter groups will perform at Showcase Maconaquah on April 14
● The MHS band will perform at its ISSMA Organizational Contest at Norwell High School April 20.
● The guard program will host a clinic at MHS for students in grades 4-8 on May 5
● All of the bands will perform their combined spring concert on May 8
● Bunker Hill Small Towns Crossroads Festival on May 12
● MHS Commencement on June 2