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The Student News Site of Bishop Miege

Bishop Miege Press

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Battle of the Bands: Student groups create music that connects cultures

+Playing+the+guitar%2C+junior+Josh+Ortiz+Melgoza+practices+old+Latin+rock+cover+music+and+original+songs.+%E2%80%9CI%E2%80%99d+say+one+%0Aof+my+favorites+is+a+song+called+%E2%80%98Batista+Solace%2C%E2%80%99%E2%80%9D+Ortiz-Melgoza+said.+%0A%E2%80%9CThat+translates+to+sad+eyes%2C+and+that%E2%80%99s+by+a+band+called+Ramona.%E2%80%9D+%7C+%0AEVIE+MCBRIDE
Evie McBride
Playing the guitar, junior Josh Ortiz Melgoza practices old Latin rock cover music and original songs. “I’d say one of my favorites is a song called ‘Batista Solace,’” Ortiz-Melgoza said. “That translates to sad eyes, and that’s by a band called Ramona.” | EVIE MCBRIDE

After a of night playing nostalgic tunes with a mix of indie and alternative rock, The Mellows, made up of seniors Benedict Balino, Luke Atwell, Sergio ValdiviaMora and Diego Melgoza eat brownies made by Atwell’s grandma and enjoy spending time with each other sharing their love for music.

The group was formed during the boys’ sophomore year taking on many names, such as Private Eye and Melio before eventually settling on Mellow. ValdiviaMora came across a word he liked the meaning of, and the members played around with it until they found the perfect fit.

“We have gone through a few different names, but this one stuck,” Atwell said. “We derived it from the term ‘meliorism,’ which is the belief that humans have the power to make the world a better place.”
The band’s common music tastes initially brought them together but what keeps them well-balanced is a strong friendship.“We try our best to keep each other close and, honestly, when we practice together we get to know each other better because with good music comes good conversations,” ValdeviaMora said. “Those conversations that we have are some of my favorite memories together so far.”

Senior Bibiana Cervantes and junior Joshua Ortiz Melgoza’s band, Souluna, also incorporates close friends who share strong ties attributed to the group knowing each other since childhood. The bond has only grown stronger from spending hours a week together during practice.

“We have all known each other since we were young, but being in a band lets us spend a lot of time together, so we learn a lot of new stuff about one another, which has made us all super close,” Cervantes said. The members of Mellow try and practice once a week but with other musical endeavors at school and work, the band is left with a practice schedule of about once a month. Each band member looks forward to graduation, as the group can focus more on developing its sound and building up the setlist, aspiring to one day play in front of an audience. Currently, however, they are content with finding beauty in the music they create.

“I think playing in private just lets me enjoy listening and playing with my bandmates,” Balino said. “Listening to one instrument and playing guitar just by yourself is nice, but it’s a completely different feeling when you have all the instruments together.”

To compensate for the lack of practice time, each person learns the music for his instrument to a song, so when the band unites everything flows. ValdiviaMora practices almost every day working on  mastering his instrument, the bass, and playing his favorite genres. Being involved in the school band and performing instrumentals in the last two school musicals, he uses his love for making music as inspiration to improve his skills.

“I practice a lot of different kinds of jazz, blues and funk, as I have loved the stylistic sounds since I was a kid, especially with all the cool pieces of music that can be found
within those genres,” ValdiviaMora said. “As a kid, my parents would hand me many CDs of different kinds of Latino music, and I would listen to that too.”

Most of the band members are self-taught in their respective instruments and have spent hours practicing, finding aid in YouTube and other apps to get to the skill level they
are at today. However, Atwell has made great strides in his instrumental endeavors with the help of lessons.

“I first learned music from my piano teacher at the age of 5, and I have learned to play about six instruments at this point, my favorite being the drums,” Atwell said.

But just knowing how to play the instrument is only a piece of the puzzle. According to Melgoza and ValdiviaMora, they feel a deep connection to what they play and find it an easier opportunity to grow closer to people.

“I love the ability of expression that music gives you,” ValdiviaMora said. “I personally find that music can really interpret one’s feelings just as well if not even better than what can be said in words. It’s an easier way to bond with others.”

Forming an attachment to the audience is an important thing for Ortiz Melgoza and it’s what makes playing in front of people worth it. Souluna finds gigs all around the Kansas City area, eager to play no matter what the compensation.

“Just seeing people’s reactions is amazing,” said Ortiz Melgoza. “We play a lot of Latin rock and old stuff people recognize, so seeing them get excited over it is really fun.”

As the bandmates work together to produce songs, work on technique and build their sound, the music becomes more than just instruments sounding good together. Whether performing in front of an adoring crowd or finding solace in playing for themselves, the bands have created something special, that is meaningful to each individual.

“This is really important to me because this is something we are able to control,” Cervantes said. “Instead of the language controlling us, we can create it and change it

in our own ways.”

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About the Contributors
Elaina Gibson, Web Editor in Chief
Evie McBride, Staff Writer

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