Grad Performers’ Favorite Parts About Graduation


Elizabeth Shapley, Staff Writer

Every year that goes by we say goodbye to our senior class. This year is no different as the graduating senior class of 2023 begins a new chapter of their lives. We all know the graduation walking march ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ that has become a tradition to play at graduations as the class walks in and takes their seats. But who plays the song? Is it a track or recording? No, it is almost always the band. The Glacier Peak band plays the song to welcome in the graduating class to their seats and kick off their graduation ceremony. As the principal gives a speech and a chosen member of the student body also delivers a message to their peers, the choir also performs a song for the graduating class. Glacier Peak Symphonic Choir performs every year at graduation, performing the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ and one other song chosen special each year.

The band and choir are the only groups of the student body that get to go to graduation outside of the senior class. Without a special invitation from a graduating senior, such as if your sibling was graduating, you don’t get to go. In high school we are a lot closer to our upperclassmen than we were in middle school or elementary. Since spots for family and friends at graduation is limited, most students do not get the honor of seeing their friends graduate, which is why it is such an honor for the band and choir to be able to send their friends off one more time as they do something they love. Many students feel the same way about their ability to say one last goodbye to their friends. “Last year, I had a blast performing for the seniors! While it was bittersweet being with the seniors for their last performance, it was also really exciting in knowing that they were going to move on to the next stage in their lives,” Raymond Sang. “Even though I wish they could’ve stayed around for a bit longer, to be able to perform one last time for them would be an honor. This year, I don’t expect it to be much different, though there are more seniors who I know that are leaving. However, it’d also be a bit scarier in the sense that I’ll be up there in a year’s time. But whatever happens is just another step into the future, and I’d gladly face it!”

For some people it is their first time performing at graduation, and they have been anticipating it since rehearsals began. “I both look forward to and dread singing at graduation. I get to be part of the last performance of some of my close friends, but at the same time… it is the last performance of some of my close friends, at least with the Glacier Peak Symphonic Choir,
Vox Wirtruk said. “I’ve met some fine people in this choir who are graduating, and it’ll be a tough performance to get through, but in its own right, it will be a beautiful memory.”

Other people know how much more special their performance makes graduation and are happy to do that for their friends and peers. “We are playing Flourish for wind band, Pomp and Circumstance, National Emblem, and Coronation March (from Star Wars), which are all very emotion provoking songs reflecting how impactful this day is in the seniors’ lives,” Tim Ellis said. “I personally have a best friend who is a senior, and I want them to remember this day fondly, because it is almost certainly going to be one of the last days I see them. Overall, I’d say my favorite thing about performing at graduation is helping add to that feeling of accomplishment that all the seniors should feel for surviving high school!”

Giving support to the seniors is most people’s favorite part of getting to perform, cheering on their upperclassmen friends as they move forward in life. “My favorite part about playing with the band at graduation is that both concert band and wind ensemble get to play together as a group and support our graduating seniors,” Avalon Lacy said. “I also love that the graduating seniors get to come over and play with us if they choose for one last song.”

That one last goodbye is not only impactful for the seniors but also their friends. “It hurts to say goodbye to my friends and choir members, but performing at graduation feels like we are giving a parting gift to all the seniors,” Sage Brunhaver said.