SPHS Instrumental Music Program presents annual 2024 Spaghetti Dinner Night

Story by Zoe Chen
Staff Writer

Photo by Shin-Hye (Rachel) Choi
Staff Photographer

The SPHS Instrumental Music Program hosted its annual Spaghetti Dinner Night on Thursday, Feb. 29. Chatter echoed through the gym as SPHS Band, Jazz Band, and Orchestra members performed pieces in small chamber groups. Spaghetti, pizza, and other sides were catered in for audience members. All profits from the event contributed to the Instrumental Music Program. 

The event kicked off at 6 p.m. in the main gym. Performers played near the gym’s visitor seating. A silent auction was hosted across the court with the items presented on a row of tables. The spaghetti buffet was set up along the back wall of the gym, and audience tables lined the interior of the court.

Following the tradition of Spaghetti Dinner Night, students formed their own groups months in advance with some planning as early as August. Within their groups, students selected their own pieces. Genres ranged from classical to jazz to pop, and composers included John Williams, Frank Sinatra, Mozart, and Laufey. A few pieces were student arranged. 

“I think it’s really cool how we get to make our own ensembles and choose our own pieces, how we get to do what we really, really love,” junior band president and percussionist Elisa Argus said. “I hope it’s brought together the community a little bit more, and it really shows the community of South Pasadena what we’ve done.”

Spaghetti Dinner Night is heavily reliant on volunteers. Auction items included restaurant gift certificates, a basket of Squishmallows, a pot of stew, and an eagle painting, among others. They were donated for the event by the community. Parent and student volunteers served attendees.

“I like just being able to showcase everything that we’ve worked on so far,” junior flutist Chaemin Lim said. “We’ve been working on this continuously for a couple of months, and I think being able to perform in front of our friends and family is so great…Hopefully we’re able to influence some students to join [band] as well, or to come again next year.”

The tradition of Spaghetti Dinner Night has been upheld for the past 20 years. Overall event proceedings make up anywhere from 30 to 60 percent of the instrumental music program’s budget, Band and Orchestra director Howard Crawford estimated. The money fuels instrument repairs, entry fees, payment for staff, and more. 

“It’s all good, just watching people eat…and watching [the musicians] play — they’re all very good,” Crawford said. “It’s good that we can continue the tradition year after year. I’m the luckiest teacher in the world.”

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