Crescendo at The Conrad

The Bishop’s Honors Combo performs at The Conrad

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Samson Chan

Saxophone players Steven Yin (’24) (left) and Connor Schneider (’22) (right), drummer Giacomo Berti (’24), vocalist/pianist Sashi Chuckravanen (’25), and mentor and bass player Mr. Robert Anderson played some snappy tunes at The Conrad.

Sydney Chan, Staff Writer

If you’ve been to a Bishop’s event lately, such as the Open House, the International Potluck, or the Christmas Tree Lighting, you’ve been treated to a performance by our Bishop’s Honors Combo. An ensemble open to any student currently enrolled in one of the Bishop’s jazz bands, the Honors Combo offers many performance opportunities for the musically gifted.

The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center is a state-of-the-art concert venue a few blocks away from Bishop’s where the La Jolla Music Society (LJMS) brings the best artists from all over the world to perform in San Diego. And on March 13, our Bishop’s Honors Combo joined that elite group of artists, performing at LJMS’s 3rd Annual Community Arts Open House at The Conrad, a free event for the entire community to enjoy.

17 local organizations shared their talents in four performing spaces simultaneously that afternoon. As families lined up outside the venue patiently awaiting to enter, guests could feel the excitement even before the gate opened. The musical buzz was exhilarating.

The Bishop’s Honors Combo kicked off the festivities of this four hour event with their performance. Families were given a jazzy welcome by Giacomo Berti (‘24) on the drums, Sashi Chuckravanen (‘25) on the keyboard and vocals, Connor Schneider (‘22) and Steven Yin (‘24) on the saxophone, and Director of Instrumental Music Mr. Robert Anderson on the bass. From their professional and upbeat sound to the cool and collected demeanor they displayed, one could never guess that this was the first off-campus performance for the young group.

“While I love performing on campus, playing at a place with a big name such as The Conrad is an entirely different beast,” drummer Giacomo exclaimed. Having moved to the States from Milan, Italy, in 2012 with his family, Giacomo started drum lessons when he was about 10.

[Playing music] is a different world in which I can express myself freely and forget about all of my worries.”

— Giacomo Berti ('24)

Thinking back now, he is extremely grateful to his mom for urging him to stick to it despite his complaints. 

Saxophonist Steven has a similar story. A native of Shanghai, China, Steven came to the US when he was nine, and he started playing saxophone a year later. He enjoys the freedom that jazz offers, and really appreciates music as a universal language.

Veteran singer/songwriter Sashi felt that “[playing at the Community Arts Open House] felt very professional.” A freshman and the youngest member of this band, Sashi already has her first album on iTunes, Late Nights. She started to play the piano at the age of four under the tutelage of her mom, and began singing in the choir in third grade. She loves performing because she feels that “playing for others is a way of giving what you know to somebody else.”

Senior sax player Connor agreed. “When someone’s listening [to you play], it’s the perfect opportunity to make the invisible bridge to them through music,” he expressed. His misfortune of dislocating his knee during the summer after seventh grade allowed him to spend his entire eighth grade year in the Bishop’s chamber ensemble, and he has been playing the saxophone ever since. 

Performing at the Conrad was a fantastic opportunity for the Bishop’s Honors Combo, which have only been together since the spring of 2021. “We are always going to remember firsts like this,” Mr. Anderson reflected. 

This is exactly what motivates the La Jolla Music Society to present events like this. La Jolla Music Society’s Education & Community Programming Director, Allison Boles shared, “the theme for this year’s Open House is ‘San Diego’s Finest.’ [Our goal is] not only to be able to provide a great performance opportunity to local artists and many students, [but] to help community members feel connected to one another through art. We want The Conrad to be known for great artistic programming and as a vibrant and inclusive community space.”  

Congratulations to our Bishop’s Honors Combo for the outstanding representation of our school. Can’t wait for your next performance!