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A symphony of dedication: Caitlin Pauly and Isaac Chu’s co-conductor journey

A+symphony+of+dedication%3A+Caitlin+Pauly+and+Isaac+Chus+co-conductor+journey
Ava Li

The stadium lights shine down on junior Caitlin Pauly and senior Isaac Chu as they step up onto their raised platforms in front of the band and the crowd-filled stands. Hundreds of eyes turn to watch the marching band co-conductors as the band begins to play.

Carter Nishi

As a child, Pauly said her love for music began while playing the clarinet and singing in choir. Pauly said her older brother had a huge influence on her and led her to join the marching band. 

“A lot of people join because they have older siblings,” Pauly said. “When I saw him do  [marching band] I thought it looked really fun and I wanted to join.” 

 

Carter Nishi

Chu joined the marching band as a junior. He had experience with violin and piano but was unsure of what he wanted to pursue. However, he decided to give marching band a try after encouragement from peers. 

Chu joined the marching band as a junior. He said he had experience with violin and piano but was unsure of what he wanted to pursue. However, he decided to give marching band a try after encouragement from peers. 

“It’s pretty rare to see people join a marching band especially once they’re an upperclassman, because everything’s already settled for them,” Chu said. “But for me, [my extracurricular path] was not as clear as it would be for most people.”

Joining late didn’t stop Chu from reaching his full potential as a co-conductor. Aside from attending conducting workshops, Chu spent countless hours practicing to capture the perfect take for his co-conductor video audition. 

“I spent a lot of time at home practicing and watching YouTube videos,” Chu said. “I would practice in front of the camera [until] my phone ran out of storage and battery.” 

While Pauly was co-conductor last year, she said she has acknowledged her room for growth and has been working to become a better leader, especially regarding communication. 

“I didn’t [communicate well] with the rest of the leadership team last year,” Pauly said. “I regret that because there were a lot of problems. We didn’t really have that open communication between us.”

Carter Nishi

As nerve-wracking as it may seem to lead a group of people as hundreds watch, confidence is essential, Pauly said.  

“[If I could give advice to my younger self] I’d say just be more confident in myself,” Pauly said. “I have been working a lot to build confidence and be more sure of the decisions I make.”

 

Both Pauly and Chu said that consistent practice is crucial to being conductors, along with being prepared and open to different ideas.

“As conductors, you have to be ready before the band is,” Pauly said. “I have to know the music, I have to know what we’re doing before we’re practicing together as an ensemble, otherwise things won’t go as smoothly.” 

Pauly and Chu said that they share a special bond, stemming from the fact that they have been friends throughout high school. Their friendship and honesty with each other helps them quickly address mistakes and collaborate effectively to lead the band cohesively.

If two leaders of the band are not connected then the band is not going to be connected.

— Conductor Isaac Chu

“If two leaders of the band are not connected then the band is not going to be connected,” Chu said. “Because we’re friends and we’re close, I can be really honest, which makes both of our conducting better.” 

Pauly believes their friendship allows them to be more comfortable and open to sharing their opinions. 

“We’re able to critique each other more freely and we’re willing to be more open to expressing new ideas,” Pauly said. “[Which] benefits the performance as a whole.”

In addition to working well together, they said that they inspire each other.

“During the application process [Chu] was really dedicated,” Pauly said. “He would go home and watch all the videos he could and learn all he could. He was [also] pushing me and the other applicants to do better.” 

Both Pauly and Chu said that the individuals who work diligently to create a strong community within the band are the ones who can become successful. 

“You have to be dedicated and willing to put in the time and work, because you get out what you put in,” Pauly said. “If you don’t put in a lot of effort … you’re not really going to get a band that is willing to respect and follow your direction.”

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About the Contributors
Lara Leon, Staff Writer
Lara is a freshman and serves as a staff writer for the oracle. Outside of school Lara enjoys lacrosse, baking, and sleeping.
Carter Nishi, Photo Editor & Business Manager
Carter is a junior and serves as the photo editor and co-business manager for the Oracle. Outside of school, he runs track and enjoys hanging out with friends.
Ava Li, Web Features Editor
Ava is a junior and serves as the Web Features editor for the Oracle. Outside of school, she enjoys dance and drawing as well as running hurdles for track.
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