Holliston High School band director Mr. Sean Bilodeau selected senior Emily Quinan as the 2015 band student conductor for the winter concert on December 14, following the tradition of having student conductors at the high school.
“I really looked up to the student conductors freshmen and sophomore years, they were my idols,” she said. Being student conductor was always something appealing, but it was only the end of last year was when Quinan knew she wanted to be one too.
Quinan conducted the piece River of Dreams by Victor Lopez. The piece was not selected by Quinan because the pieces she would have rather conducted were too difficult for the band, such as a Pirates of the Caribbean medley and a medley of the Gladiator soundtrack.
Regardless of song choice, for Quinan, this is a dream come true. “I’ve loved playing in band since fourth grade,” she said, later adding on that this would be a great and different way to be a part of the band, to lead it.
However, with leadership comes new obstacles. “There hasn’t been a major issue,” Quinan said, excluding the standard musical problems of being in a band. However, “commanding the authority” of the band can be difficult. “Yes, I am the one in charge but I don’t know one-hundred percent of what I’m doing, and people see that,” she said.
Though being in charge is difficult, Quinan has the support of the band and HHS Band Director Mr. Sean Bilodeau.
“I think she’s doing really well,” said Mr. Bilodeau. Both have been working very hard to make this piece as good as it can be.
The two attempt to meet as frequently as possible, focusing mainly on the mechanics of conducting, helping Quinan help the band.
“[Conducting] comes with time,” Mr. Bilodeau said. Unfortunately, because of conflicting schedules, that time has been difficult to find.
Mr. Bilodeau has been thinking up ways to give him and the student conductor more time to work. “I would like to make it an internship,” he said.
The idea of having a student director was around before Mr. Bilodeau came to the high school in 2012. “[The students] asked me if I was willing to carry on the tradition,” he said about when he first arrived at the school.
The students also enjoy having a student conductor. Sophomore flautist Maria Gentile said that she enjoys seeing the different personalities of Mr. Bilodeau and Quinan.
“They have different styles,” Gentile said about Mr. Bilodeau and Quinan. Quinan’s conducting style is more in front of her body, and gentler while “Mr. B’s is more intense,” Gentile said.
“I think it’s cool to have someone else [conduct],” Gentile said, “especially someone respected like Emily.”