By John Kolacz
New equipment was on display at Torrey Pines High School’s recent concert events. Most notably was the new sound system which spotlighted soloists like never before and made vocalists as clear as a bell. And there are more additions to the band inventory already budgeted.
Amy Willcox, TPHS’ music director, has purchased a new digital piano and case already and is shopping for more instruments. And, the program has extended its commitment to providing additional at-school coaching this year to fill out the program’s needs. The Torrey Pines Music Boosters has conducted several well-received fundraisers to support the instrument buys and coaching investment, and is ready to have Mrs. Willcox budget for more.
As the band program grows in stature in the community, more students are looking to TPHS to help them realize their goals. With the growing skill sets at her direction, Mrs. Willcox has added flair and student challenges to TPHS’ music repertoire. During the Winter Concert Series, for example, each ensemble dynamically showcased their musical range. The shows featured contemporary music from "Slumdog Millionaire," classical pieces featuring compelling, dare I say tension-building soloists Leonard Chen and Austin Shyu, and the jazz band stupefying the crowd with their version of hip hop. Such risks! And rewards for the audience! Said concert goer Marinee Jay, “I am always thrilled at the artistry of what I hear and see from Mrs. Willcox and her students. Each time I attend a concert, I am moved to tears!”
The music festival and competition season is upon us and Torrey Pines will again be prominent at events all over the state. The next scheduled appearance will be at Choices Night at Torrey Pines on Feb. 22 where the Advanced Orchestra, the Jazz Band and the Jazz Band combos will be playing on campus at Torrey Pines High School starting at 6:15 p.m.