Musically Inclined: The Music Department at Juan Diego


JD Orchestra performing a piece at the latest recital.

Music can have one of the most significant impacts on a person. Playing music has been linked to ‘work-out’ our brains while helping to lower internal stress levels. Being part of a club within a community has also been proven to support creativity and build a sense of belonging. With all these benefits, it makes the reasons to join a band, orchestra, or choir so obvious, so why is the Juan Diego Music Department so disregarded? 

“Though I’ve only been in the JD Music Department for two years, I have been in music for almost my whole life,” Olivia Young, a junior, shares. “I play tenor saxophone for Jazz Band, lead pan for Steel Band, and clarinet for Concert Band.” Young hopes the band will get more lively with future classes for music, “I’ll be a drum major in Marching Band next year and I really just want to see our program get back to being loud and exciting.” 

Lauryn Zlotucha, a senior, shares this sentiment with Young. “I have been playing in the Music Department at JD for 7 years,” she shares. “But I have been in music for 13 years.” Zlotucha has played violin in the high-school Orchestra for four years now, and her time with the program will end soon. “I hope the department gets more opportunities for improvement and gains more momentum.” 

The ongoing events for the Music Department include numerous recitals, fundraisers, and competitions within one year. A specific event is “dessert pops”, a fundraiser for orchestra where all the pieces follow a certain theme. Young expresses how “I really love doing this concert in May. We combine a piece with Choir, Orchestra, and Band, plus we get desserts at the end of it.” 

The Music Department also plays a role in the Juan Diego school Masses. “Choir has a heavy importance in mass,” Cheryl Cordell, a sophomore, says. “We spend weeks preparing and learning the songs.” 

Cordell has been singing for 6 years, but this is her first year as a part of the JD choir. “I think having more recognition for the Music Department as a whole would be amazing,” Cordell shares. “None of us are promoted as heavily as sports or other areas at JD.” This belief is concurred by the small stature of the Music Department with only 40-something people in Band, Orchestra, and Choir total. 

So why should one join the Music Department? Each of these girls have their own reason. “Choir teaches you how your individual voice can blend with a group,” Cordell says. “But there’s also many opportunities to shine on your own.” 

Young says one should join for the experiences. “Spring is a busy time with many competitions and also the department trip. It’s very fun and you make many friends.” Zlotucha agrees with Young’s statement on making friends, saying her favorite part of the program is “the community that it creates for the participants. It really feels like you are surrounded by people that better you and contribute to your individual progression.” 

Consider joining the music program, because whether you’ve played for ten years or not at all, you could enjoy it, and the community will welcome you with open arms.