Musical Opportunities at JCHS

An interview with Josh B. Class of 2016
It’s been an exciting fall semester for the performing arts department at JCHS. This year’s musical, Into the Woods, opened to rave reviews. All four performances were sold out- such an incredible testament to our student’s talents!

The fall musical provides the opportunity for the entire performing and visual arts department to come together. Art, vocal, drama, and music students work together to put on an amazing show with the support of our teachers and professional community. It is a group effort that is a pleasure to see. As David Möschler, Vocal Music Director at JCHS said, “it really is the watershed moment of the year for our department.” With so much excitement around the musical, JCHS checked in with drummer Josh B., who played in the orchestra.
JCHS: When did you start playing the drums?

Josh: I started playing the drums in the 2nd grade. I played in the band at Brandeis Hillel Day School in Marin. My previous experience playing drums includes jazz band and rock band.

JCHS: How did you continue your musical pursuits at JCHS?
Josh: At the start of the year I joined the JCHS Instrumental Ensemble. In the fall, this group performs as the orchestra for the musical production. I was looking forward to trying something new as playing orchestral percussion in this show is very different than my previous experience as a drummer.

JCHS: Did you find this experience to be a challenge?
Josh: Yes. At first, it was very different and at times, challenging. You have to be focused the entire time as the parts you play come and go quickly. There can be some down time but you can’t let your mind wander, because if you do, you might miss your part.

JCHS: What were you surprised to find out about yourself with this experience?
Josh: I was surprised that I really enjoyed it and got excited about the music for Into the Woods.

JCHS: What are you taking away from this experience?
Josh: A lot! Taking on a musical challenge, I have become a better musician. We have professional musicians playing with the student orchestra and not only did I enjoy working with them, I learned so much. They were role models to us [the students] since they have years of experience. I watched how they handled mistakes by accepting that they missed a note, stayed calm, learned from it and moved forward. They showed me how to be a valued member. I also really enjoyed discovering the new world of orchestral percussion.

JCHS: How was participating in the orchestra as a freshman?
Josh: It was great! There were only three freshmen in the orchestra. The rest of the students were sophomores, juniors and seniors. I got to know them which was fun and is just another example of the whole JCHS attitude that you are not confined to your grade, and that all students here become friends regardless of year in school.

JCHS: What’s next for you?
Josh: I’m really looking forward to participating in the Jam Band [student-run club] next quarter!

Students interested in pursuing music while at JCHS have a number of class and club options. One such option is the Instrumental Ensemble, a music instruction class. In addition to the fall musical, students in this class are given small ensemble opportunities such as jazz band, rock band and private instrumental and coaching lessons with JCHS’ Music Director, Jessica Bejarano. Ms. Bejarano also teaches the Vocal Ensemble class in which students sing a variety of music from classical to contemporary genres. The song choices are often student-driven. Further music opportunities include the student-run Jam Band, as well as the Jew Man Group- JCHS’ student-run a cappela singing group.
Jewish Community High School of the Bay
1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: 415.345.9777
JCHS is grateful for generous operational, programmatic, and financial support from:
The Jewish Community High School of the Bay (JCHS) is a unique college preparatory high school committed to integrating deep learning, universal wisdom, and Jewish values. We empower each student to embrace her or his Jewish identity, generate empathy and compassion, delight in lifelong education, and improve the world.