Tucson High Magnet’s orchestra students usually stick to the classical stuff.
But some of them had a chance to take their string jams to indie folk, when a local musician invited them to participate in a song for his band’s album.
Eight students, four of whom have since graduated, participated in a recording session for the band, The Long Wait, in April. The fruits of their labor, “Something (All Around the World),” came out last week on the band’s 10-track release.
“It was a great opportunity to go in and do live recording,” said Victor Molina, 17, who was part of the project as a cellist.
The students got the chance after frontman Björgvin Benediktsson, a Tucson transplant from Iceland, reached out to the co-director of the Tucson High orchestra, Jessica Breen.
Students sometimes perform outside of the school in exchange for tax credit donations, Breen said. But this is the first time they got to record a song and that’s an incredibly rare experience for high school musicians. It could help them down the road should they choose to become music majors in college.
“The studio experience was amazing,” she said. “They got a real-life recording experience.”
The recording took place at Saint Cecilia Studios, where the students recorded several takes. They rehearsed with Benediktsson and his bandmate, Liz Cerepanya, and also Bob Hanshaw, who wrote the string arrangement for the song prior to recording.
Benediktsson, who describes himself as a music entrepreneur, said he was envisioning something “bigger and more interesting” for the song. The string arrangement really made that happen.
“It was just amazing to see how much it flushed out the entire production,” he said.
Angie Valencia and Isabel Verdugo, who also participated in the recording, said they were anxious at first going into the project. “It’s really different when you hear yourself playing,” Valencia said.
In the end, the students said they were satisfied with the outcome. “I like the way it came out,” Verdugo said.
Valencia, a senior, said she will go on to study music education in college. Verdugo, a junior, hasn’t decided yet. Of the four students who graduated since the project, three have gone on to study music in college.
Molina, the cellist, said he would pursue a career in biomedical engineering. But music will always be a part of his life. He wants to give free private lessons to kids in need.
The live recording experience with The Long Wait also opened him up to the world of being a cellist for hire. Molina said he’s willing to bring his cello skills to other genres in the future. “I’ll totally do country.”
For more about the band or to purchase its new release go online to thelongwait.com