El Camino High School campus

Return of El Camino High’s Winter Concert Breathes Life Back into the Community

Live, musical performances returned to South San Francisco Unified School District (SSFUSD) with El Camino High School’s first in-person, winter concert since the onset of COVID-19 in 2020. 
Sophomore Karen Kitchen, who didn’t have an opportunity to set foot on campus last year as a freshman due to the pandemic, said she was excited but nervous for the holiday performance. 
“I am glad that we’re able to have this again. . .It was actually my first year of high school during the virtual learning. . .and it was a completely different experience,” Kitchen said. “The only time you really interacted with other people in the band was during the class Zoom meetings, and you really couldn’t play together.”
Seniors Arkin Reyes and Kenny Bandian agreed.
“Part of being in a jazz band is mixing together and communicating with each other,” said Reyes. “I really miss playing in front of people, trading backs and riffs, just having fun. It’s not all about playing the best music or competing or one upping each other. It’s really about the community.”
“It’s our senior year, so we want to do the best that we can,” said Bandian, “because this is just going to be the last time that we’re going to be able to take it all in.” 
According to El Camino High music teacher Raymond Galela, the school’s winter concert has traditionally been a three-hour-long affair with an intermission between a symphonic portion and a jazz portion. 
However, to account for social distancing requirements amidst a lingering pandemic, he decided to split the event into two concerts held a week apart focusing respectively on symphonic and jazz performances.