Northgate Instrumental Music

Senior Sebastian Zamarripa, standing while playing a trombone solo during Jazz Band I’s Nov. 18 concert at Diablo Valley College, is one of the student leaders for Band and Orchestra Student Senate, or BOSS.

BOSS leaders instrumental in student music program

The return of students to a traditional onsite school schedule has brought with it the restoration of many extracurricular activities to their full glory. Among these activities is the Band and Orchestra Student Senate, or BOSS, which plays a pivotal leadership role in Northgate’s award-winning music program.  

“BOSS is a student-run organization that works with our boosters in order to give students the best experience in instrumental music,” said instrumental music director Roberto García-Leiva.

“They’re proactive students that take initiative,” García-Leiva said of the group of representatives from each of the five bands. “They’re students who have leadership ability or a desire to develop their leadership abilities, or are passionate about instrumental music as a whole and want to make it better. They set up fundraising opportunities, they help with concert setup, they promote our events, and they keep students updated on what’s going on.”

Senior Sebastian Zamarripa, the student president of BOSS, shared his perspective on the organization’s role in the music program. “BOSS gives students an opportunity to make a valuable impact on our music program,” said Zamarripa, who plays the trombone.

With music ensembles including jazz, traditional concert groups and the orchestra, the community of instrumental music can feel divided sometimes. “BOSS helps to unite our communities of many different ensembles into one family. We influence real decisions for the betterment of the program’s future and keep the students in the loop of events in the program,” Zamarripa said.

Zamarripa is confident about reforms of BOSS under his leadership. “This year is different from other years, especially coming out of the pandemic.  BOSS is going to be more flexible and give students more opportunities to suggest changes in our system,” he explained.  “Everyone should have their voice heard, and I hope that I can succeed in making this rendition of BOSS more inclusive. I hope it tears down the walls between different grade levels and bands,” he said.

Other student leaders are equally excited. “My passion for music compels me to work hard to improve the program,” says BOSS member Tatiana Avdienko, a sophomore who plays the bass. “I feel that I make a difference. As a BOSS member, it is my job to make sure that the students in orchestra and band are informed about current events in the music program, so I’m constantly ensuring that the orchestra is up to date on fundraisers.”

Garcia-Leiva, in his first full year as the director of the five music groups and the marching band, explained that the arts can help people heal from the devastation and disruption of the past year.  “The world needs more music. We’ve been in a void of social and emotional experiences because of the pandemic, so I think being able to share the gift of music with people and our community is really important,” García-Leiva said.

Fundraising has been an important part of making these musical experiences possible, and this will continue.  “Here at Northgate we’ve been fortunate to give students a lot of opportunities that other students don’t get.  Having guest artists and clinicians, each group getting to attend multiple festivals a year, and playing in professional venues, like the Lesher Center for the Arts and Yoshi’s Jazz Club, are all opportunities that I think enrich our students’ musical experience and motivate them to keep developing as musicians and as people,” explained García-Leiva. 

The music program runs several fundraisers throughout the year, such as the lively March-A-Thon in early September, during which the marching band goes through a neighborhood close to the school and viewers have the opportunity to make a donation. Another important event is Orchestra & Band on the Run, a dinner and auction at Boundary Oaks on March 4.  For more information on fundraisers and how to participate, please go to the NIMB website here.


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