Pancake Breakfast kicks off the music program from the 21-22 school year


Nethra Dhamodaran

The Chamber Choir sings “Java Jive” under the direction of Diana Walker.

With pancakes, prizes and a cool breeze in the quad, the DVHS music program hosted the annual Pancake Breakfast fundraiser on Sept. 10, marking their first event of the new school year.

Drawing in community members with pancakes and music, friends and families attended the festivity Saturday morning while around 800 students performed. The three groups, Band, Orchestra and Choir, took turns performing while audience members enjoyed their breakfast. Two booths stood alongside the 1k and 2k buildings offering drinks, fruits and pancakes to both attendees and performers. 

Orchestra began the morning under the direction of Orchestra Director Paul Rhodes. Pieces such as one from the Game of Thrones soundtrack and a Mozart Symphony were chosen, each one with a different reasoning.

“We throw 15 to 20 pieces at them in the first month of school, which is kind of crazy and overwhelming [but] it goes just fine.”

— Marc Walker

“For Chamber, I chose a piece of music that they could coordinate well and still have a musical challenge and get some relevance from,” Mr. Rhodes explained. “For the other two groups, I chose Game of Thrones for the reason that they could handle something with a little more independence in the lower lines and who could also handle coordinating tempo shifts and dynamic shifts.”

Band began to play next, bringing in a new set of music for the audience to enjoy. For example, the Symphonic band was able to play some pieces they looked at the end of last year, giving them a chance to try out various pieces. Freshman Concert Band was given the Pep Band Music, the pieces they play at football games, and though they are only given a month to practice, no issues arose on that day.

“We throw 15 to 20 pieces at them in the first month of school, which is kind of crazy and overwhelming [but] it goes just fine,” one of the band directors, Marc Walker, said. 

More than an hour into the event, Choir joined alongside Choir Director Diana Walker. The Women’s Ensemble began with “Shake the Papaya Down”, and Chamber Choir ended the set with their energic rendition of “Java Jive”. 

“I think they [did] great; everybody was enthusiastic. They were excited and it’s a great way to kick off the school year,” Mrs. Walker said.

With a few more rotations, Pancake Breakfast came to a close, ending the showcase of music groups, consisting of more than 20% of the campus. However, the influence of the event didn’t end that day. Raising the first set of money for the Music Boosters fund, the fund for the DVHS music program, the fundraiser will allow for money to go towards ordering music, doing instrument repair, buying new instruments and more this year. Around six to nine thousand dollars are brought in from the event annually, and though it “seems like a lot,” the money is efficiently spent on materials that require a lot of funds. 

“Everything that you see from the music stands to the chairs — that all comes from Music Boosters [money],” Mrs. Walker said.

However, the idea for a fundraiser such as Pancake Breakfast wasn’t one that originated from the music directors. The tradition started in Amador High School, and for the past few years, DVHS has been able to adopt it and adapt it to the school’s needs.

“We fit it to what Dougherty Valley does and feels like because every school is different,” Mr. Walker explained. 

And now, the music directors agree that it has become a successful event, and even more of a successful event this year.

“Last year was a year about just trying to reestablish this year,” Mr. Rhodes said. “We had last year to get used to the rhythm of being here again.”

Now that things have gone back to normal, it’s become an even better way to introduce the music program for this year.

“Everybody was enthusiastic,” Mrs. Walker said. “They were excited and it’s a great way to kick [off] the school year.”