By Cesay Camara
MCSM’s annual Talent Show, held last Friday May 29th, brought together all the creative talents possessed by people attending Manhattan Center–including singing, dancing and playing instrumental music–in a special evening showcase for the whole school to see. The MCSM Pop Band, otherwise known as the MCSM Band, was one of the many great performances during Friday’s show.
The band members, many of whom have never performed in the Talent Show, were joined on stage by Mr. Tramm, an English teacher and overseer of the MCSM Band. Mr. Tramm took over the band about three years ago after the departure of former music teacher and band adviser Mr. Melendez. The thought of not having a school band after Mr. Melendez left is what led Mr. Tramm to assume the position of the band club’s new faculty supervisor.
Unbeknownst to many students prior to his officially taking over the band, Mr. Tramm is well-versed in music. He’s played guitar and drums for about 20 years and has performed in several musical groups. As he puts it, he has been ” a little formally trained.” Mr. Tramm, like the other members of the group, had an instrument of his own to play–the electric guitar. Other instruments featured in their stage show included xylophone, drum kit, bass, and tribal drum.
This year the MCSM Band was the first to perform, and opened with a well-known pop song: Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Gotye’s song, part of his album “Making Mirrors,” has sold more than 7 million downloads in the United States, according to the LA Times, and earned a Grammy for “Record of the Year.” This song choice along with the band’s unique style, was able to instantly win the attention of viewers.
When asked how the band decides on songs, Hillary, a senior in the group states: “It was a democratic decision.”
The band also performed “R U Mine? by the Arctic Monkeys. Yassin, a sophomore musician, noted that his most enjoyable role on stage was playing the xylophone solo for this song. He states: “Even though it probably wasn’t heard, it was felt in people’s hearts.” Hillary noted that her favorite part was hitting the high note while singing.
Like Yassin, Hillary, and other band members, Mr. Tramm also enjoyed himself while onstage. “I like to perform, and people love to be entertained,” he said. “Performing is a good way to do things for other people.” According to Yassin preparation for the talent show was intense. He told the RamPage rather humorously: “We practiced the songs every Wednesday until we were close to smashing our instruments and hating those two songs!”
When asked if they faced any challenges staging their performance, Hillary noted the difficulty of getting everything on and off the stage given the brevity of their performance time. However she was thankful that things worked out well.
This year the group’s bassist, vocalist, and drummer are graduating, and the combo will be looking for new recruits in the fall. The band is not exclusive to students who want to perform in public, according to Mr. Tramm. “It’s also a way for students to come play with us, and to have their own outlet to express themselves.”