Conducting Success: Gabriella Tolentino and Jailyn Joseph

Iris Lee, Student Life Editor

   After practicing for weeks, your brain is practically wired with music. Sweat and worry begins to perspire, as you feel the intimidating gaze of dozens of eyes upon you. This experience is an everyday reality for junior Gabriella Tolentino and senior Jailyn Joseph, whose infamous conducting and leadership skills have played a large role in one of PPCHS Band’s most successful years in history. Through various triumphs and tribulations, the pair have spent their entire high school career navigating the world of music and learning how to be the perfect conductors. 


What has your journey in band been like throughout the years?

Gabriella: “It’s been a long journey. I’ve been in a band since 6th grade, and I’ve had so many high and low moments from the 5 years I’ve been part of this ensemble. Like, it’s crazy how I’ve dedicated so much of my time and energy to band, so at times it can get extremely stressful, but at the end of the day, I always find that spark of hope that motivates me to keep going!” 


Jailyn:My journey in band was definitely interesting. My freshman year I honestly did not like band much. I did not have many friends, and being new to high school, I was too shy to make any. My sophomore year was when COVID had struck, and I had to practice my instrument everyday at home during quarantine. My junior year, however, was when the switch had flipped and I had gained my love for band. Band has served as my respite from the pandemic and allowed me to see my friends and learn new music. I was also able to learn a new instrument, the baritone, and become more fluent in music than I have ever been before. This love has inspired me to become drum major for my senior year of high school.”


What role has music played in your life?

Gabriella: “Music has always played a big role in my life. I grew up listening to all types of music, and it’s always something that lifts my mood when I’m stressed or feeling down in general. Especially now in junior year, I’ve grown to love how music is able to distract me from my worries and bring me joy in times of need.”


Jailyn:Music has been my creative outlet for all of high school. I cannot imagine having a full schedule of classes without music– it allows me to have a break from my regular AP/AICE classes while becoming proficient in my instruments.”


What does it take to be a good conductor?

Gabriella: “Consistent practice. During marching band season, I practiced conducting for at least 30 minutes everyday with simply my metronome and my music scores. Practice truly does make perfect, so it’s important to keep up with this to make sure that you are prepared to conduct the whole band!”


Jailyn:To be a good conductor, one has to be very dedicated and diligent. I definitely did not expect the amount of time and dedication that was required to be a drum major. Practice is extensive and often grueling, but the end product is always worth it.”


What’s your favorite memory that you’ve made in band so far?

Gabriella: “My favorite band memory would have to be when our band received straight superiors at MPA (Music Performance Assessment). We’ve worked extremely hard to receive that rating, so it feels good to finally get recognized for all the hard work we put in. And this is the first time in PPCHS history that we’ve gotten these straight superior scores, so knowing that I was one of the drum majors who conducted this makes me feel so proud of myself!”


Jailyn:My favorite band memory has to be the afterparties. After football games or any large performance, the band celebrates by having an afterparty in the band room. The drummers play their loud cadences while the rest of the band dances and celebrates the win they had just received. Having a way to express victory makes performing feel even more rewarding than it already is.”


Is being a conductor stressful or enjoyable, and why? Or is there an in-between?

Gabriella: “Being a student conductor is both stressful and enjoyable altogether. Standing in front of your entire high school band and having all eyes on you is very nerve-wracking at times, and you can feel how the pressure is on you to not make any mistakes. However, when you get your mind out of that stress factor, you grow to love conducting. You get to see all the progress your band makes from a different perspective, and sometimes you can feel really powerful knowing that you’re leading and guiding the whole band on the field!”


Jailyn: “Being a conductor can be stressful at times. We have to keep the tempo steady, know when to cut off the band and when to cue them in, and stay focused at all times. I do immensely enjoy conducting, however. I love being able to see my peers’ faces and know that they are watching me and relying on me. I also thoroughly enjoy how close I was able to become with every member of the band during marching season.”

you grow to love conducting. You get to see all the progress your band makes from a different perspective, and sometimes you can feel really powerful knowing that you’re leading and guiding the whole band on the field!

— Gabriella Tolentino

Do you see music as continuing to be a part of your future? And if so, how?

Gabriella: “Music will always be a part of my life. In the future, I’m still going to play my clarinet or  practice conducting when I have the chance. Maybe I’ll go big and audition for larger and more-recognizable bands, or maybe I’ll even continue my music career in college too.”


Jailyn: “Considering that I am going off to college in a couple of months, I am unsure if I am going to continue music in college. I do hope that music will always be a continuity in my life, however, as it has been for the last 8 years.”