Performances and a ‘petting zoo’

Best Buddies hosts a music festival open for all students to attend

Best Buddies hosted a music festival during lunch on Feb. 17 that was open to all students to attend. During the first half of lunch, performances by the Madrigal choir, jazz band and string quartet were displayed in LGI 1, followed by an instrument petting zoo hosted in LGI 2 where students experimented with various musical instruments. 

Best Buddies president and senior Samantha Ho was inspired to plan the music festival when brainstorming what to do for her contemporary music maker project for her IB HL Music course, which required her to collaborate with other musicians. 

“I was like, ‘I should bring in other musicians to collaborate with my studies, and I know that I have a pretty big network with Best Buddies,’” Ho said. “I did some research, and it has been proven that music therapy is effective for people with disabilities.”

Students both in and outside of special education were able to experience the performance and how it feels to use music as an outlet. Ho also wanted to use the festival to raise awareness about music being used as a form of communication.

“A lot of people with an IDD [intellectual or developmental disability] may be nonverbal because they can’t express themselves through words,” Ho said. “I thought introducing them to music as a mode of expression would help them communicate how they’re feeling and relieve stress.”

Junior Meiling Yang, who played the violin in the string quartet’s shortened version of “String Quartet no. 2 in D major: I. Allegro moderato,” felt that it was a “really nice experience performing for an audience.”

“I think the audience enjoyed it a lot, judging from the reaction right when we finished,” Yang said. “It’s really good music, and it’s short.”

Like Yang, junior and Percussion 3 student Sammy Vu also enjoyed getting to interact with students and saw firsthand how they gravitated towards their favorite instruments. In charge of the auxiliary instruments during the instrument petting zoo, Vu felt the festival was “a cool way to introduce people to some of the different percussion instruments.”

“Seeing the room filled with people and the different sounds of the instruments really stood out to me,” Vu said. “Watching people experiment with instruments they probably never played before was nostalgic. It reminded me of the first time I started playing percussion.”

Ho plans to use future Best Buddies events, such as an upcoming Friendship Walk, to further educate students about IDDs.

“I hope people are more aware of celebrating differences instead of isolating people,” Ho said. “I wanted it to be really inclusive and really integrated, and I think we accomplished that.”

The Best Buddies Remind code is @bhsbbuds. Best Buddies holds Fun Fridays every week with buddies in which club members get to play games, watch movies and make crafts all while learning how to create a more inclusive environment for people with IDDs.