H-F band has three leaders for 2019-20 season

  Kirkland Benson, left, field commander, and drum majors
  Alex Contrares, center, and Jazz Jabulani are working
  with the 200-member Homewood-Flossmoor High
  School band.
(Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)

Two drum majors and a field commander are sharing leadership for the 200-member Homewood-Flossmoor High School band this year.

Seniors Alex Contreras of Chicago Heights and Jazz Jabulani of Glenwood are drum majors and junior Kirkland Benson is a field commander.
Sarah Whitlock, teacher and band director, selected the three leaders. She also asked Contreras and Jabulani to help select music for the marching band season. Contreras said a disco theme and a 2000 theme will be part of the band’s shows.
Contreras, son of Elia Acosta and Alejandro Contreras, started playing flute as a student at Parker Junior High. He also plays guitar, piano and ukulele outside of school. He sees his role as offering leadership skills to the band’s 19 section leaders. 
Each grouping, for example percussion or flute, has a section leader. It’s the drum majors’ role to share updates and other information with section leaders who are responsible for sharing it with band members.
“With a group this large, Miss Whitlock can’t do it all,” Contreras said. “She relies on us.”
Jabulani said he “definitely saw things to be improved, and other things that don’t need much,” such as the marching routines and the camaraderie between section leaders and their interactions with section members. 
As a drum major, “You are in a way disconnected from the band because you have a larger picture to look at,” Jabulani said. “There are a lot of connections you can make with the section leaders asking them what they need and how you can make it better for everyone.”
Section leaders this year are: Flute — Maggie Bauer, Carmella Arvia and Valeria Nieves; Clarinet — Sarah Chevalier, Emily Pearce, Eliana D’Astici and Lilia Zamkin; Saxophone — Ella Bohlman, Liam Hughes, Jazmyn Kelley and Kaitlyn Linde; Trumpet — Calvin Peer, Chase Bethea; Horn — Delaney Eaheart; Low Brass — Kiyah Roberts; Percussion — Paige Williams, Sofi Riedel, Natalia Carpio and Charlotte McManus.
Jabulani, son of Iaote Wawatu and Lydia Mutua, started playing oboe in fifth grade at Millennium School. He still plays oboe with the concert band but is a saxophone player with the marching band.
Contreras and Jabulani went to leadership camp at Ball State University in 2018 to hone their skills as juniors, when they were field commanders.
As a field commander, Benson is in training for a drum major role his senior year.  The son of Yolanda and Kirkland Benson of Homewood, he started playing the clarinet at James Hart School and then switched to tenor saxophone, his instrument with the H-F band.
The H-F Marching Band came together in late July for band camp with a special leadership camp for section leaders and drum majors. Aside from the practices, the band had a car wash, and they played at freshman orientation and the H-F High groundbreaking ceremony for the new fine arts additions. They will next be at the Foundation 153 Fund Run in Homewood on Sept. 22.
Football season starts Aug. 30 with a home game against TF North High. The band will be entertaining at H-F’s homecoming game against Andrew on Sept. 13.
After football season the band will be performing at basketball games and will switch from marching band to concert band for the rest of the school year.
The band will be traveling to Europe over spring break performing in Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and Austria.


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