Trio named to honors bands


Tyler Raymond

From left to right, Minseo Kim, Dylan Liujanto and Raymond Chen were named to honor bands this year.

Cal High has been known to have an extensive music program, with multiple classes offered and a series of performances throughout the year.

So, it comes to no surprise that many students participating in the program go on to even higher levels of music performance, such as county and state bands. 

Three students exceeding expectations this year are juniors Raymond Chen, Dylan Liujanto and Minseo Kim, all of whom were named to honors bands earlier this year.

Chen and Liujanto, both saxophone players for Cal’s jazz ensemble, had the opportunity to perform with the Contra Costa Jazz Honor Band after going through an audition process.

The county jazz honor band is a collection of the best high school band musicians in the county and has been conducted by legendary area jazz greats. 

Chen and Lijuanto spent about 10 hours with the honor band, going through two auditions and one concert. 

While the honor band was somewhat trying to get into, it wasn’t as studious as Chen and Liujanto originally expected.

“It was pretty chill,” Liujanto said. “It was just like everyone who liked playing music playing together.”

Chen, a lifelong band student, said the atmosphere was more lax than expected and the “honor aspect” wasn’t as high once he was in the room. But he didn’t really have a problem with that. 

“I do think it made me a better musician and student,” Chen said. 

Kim, who participated in the All-State Chamber Orchestra, had a different experience. She stayed with other members of the orchestra and experienced a very different environment.

“It was really competitive,” Kim said. “It was like everyone was competing with each other for the same spots because there are a lot of people in orchestra.”  

While that tough competition may not be for everyone, Kim said she wasn’t opposed to it and actually came to enjoy it. 

“You could tell that everyone cared about music and wanted to be a better musician, which was nice to see,” Kim said. 

Cal’s choir teacher Lori Willis, who has all three students in  AP music theory, spoke highly of the advanced bands.

“I think it’s great that they did this,” Willis said. “It’s important to take chances and show passion and that’s what this is.”