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The News Website for Glendale High School


The News Website for Glendale High School


Hajime Araki Sets the Tune for His School

GHS drum major has led his team through a very successful season!

Hajime Araki was born in California and is currently a senior at Glendale High School. He currently holds the position of drum major of the GHS marching band. Before he became drum major, Hajime marched and played tenor saxophone for about eight years. In his free time, he likes to play other instruments and video games, and he often watches marching arts and band-related videos.

What first got you into playing music?

I’m not really sure what got me into it at first. I just remember the music teacher at my elementary school coming into class one day and advertising the music class they were offering. He handed out a sign-up sheet with all the instruments they had available, and I honestly picked the first one I saw, which happened to be the saxophone.

Why did the saxophone become the main instrument you play?

The reason why I stuck with the saxophone is that it was beginner-friendly, while also being incredibly versatile in all genres of music. [It also has] advanced techniques that can further expand your playing. It was also an instrument that just seemed really “cool” to me at the time.

Before your senior year, did you expect to be selected as drum major?

Not at all, actually. The thing I actually loved most about band was being able to march on the field and feel that rush of adrenaline from performing. Being drum major would’ve meant I wouldn’t be able to march on the field for the show. 

But I did feel inspired to become drum major because of our previous drum major, Carmelo [Geron], who I was a close friend to. Over time, I realized that getting that position would allow me to be more involved in the process of planning and designing some aspects of the show.

What is a drum major and why is it important to the marching band?

Drum major is essentially the leader of the band, who conducts the band during shows and gives out commands. The drum major position is important to the band because they help keep time for the band, but also [they are] in charge of the band during everyday rehearsals. They also make plans and help to coordinate parts of the show musically and visually.

Did your marching band season as drum major go as you thought it would?

This season actually went better than I would’ve hoped for. Though admittedly we didn’t place very high in our comps, we’ve had incredible and unthinkable levels of improvement throughout the season and a huge score improvement from our first competition to our last. 

Like all seasons, we had our ups and downs, and there were times [when] morale was really low, but we all [persevered] and got better. All our members had incredible growth, both as musicians, [as] performers and as people. As someone who pays attention to everyone, and was pretty well-connected with the members, it was incredibly rewarding to see.

When you go to college, what do you want to major in and will you continue participating in marching band?

I hope to study music composition in college, and I do plan on continuing the marching arts in college, or even going into Drum Corps, or possibly [joining] an indoor percussion ensemble.

Do you have anything you’d like to say to your teammates in marching band? Do you have any advice for them?

I could probably go on for hours about how proud I am of how the band turned out this season. You all have grown so much, and we had an incredible show this year. I also want to thank all of you for such an incredible way to end my last field season.

To the freshmen and sophomores, I hope you had a great time this season, and I really hope that you guys all continue to do this wonderful activity. Juniors and seniors, thank you for being some of my closest friends and [for] being like family to me. Seeing you guys all grow was so cool, and I’m glad to be able to finish off my final year of high school with you guys.

What kind of student should join the marching band or drumline?

If you play any wind instruments and [if] you are a percussionist, I would highly recommend considering marching band and drumline. It is an incredible activity, with an incredible group of people. I will guarantee [that] you will meet some of the best people in your life there. 

It’s time-consuming, but in the end, the [end] product is always worth it. That’s why all of us stick with it, regardless of the PE credit the class gives us.

If you are interested in joining any of our music programs next year, please feel free to contact Ms. Rangel at [email protected]. But keep on going with that harmony, Nitros!

About the Contributor
Erica Mae Valdellon
Erica Mae Valdellon, Spotlight Editor
Erica is a senior at Glendale High School. She is on the varsity track team and a member of the culinary program. She enjoys going to the beach and exploring nature. She loves playing the piano and loves drinking boba (favorite drink: strawberry matcha). She is willing to give it her all this year. She is interested in majoring in nursing next year and hopes that her last year ay GHS will go well. She’s looking forward to making new friends and establishing bonds before she graduates.
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