Michelle and Yuna

There is always undiscovered talent at every school. Sometimes, it’s because students are overshadowed by athletes or academically gifted students. Some are just too nervous and not confident in their skills. Bill Burke, CHVS’s Performing Arts Department Chair and Director of Guitar Studies, felt that something needed to be done. Thus, GUMBO XXX was created. The purpose of GUMBO is to bring people, who are passionate in music, together to embrace their talents and love for music.

It first started in 2000 and since then, there have been two every year. That makes this year’s winter concert the 30th biannual. It was held on Friday, January 27th from 7 pm to 9 pm in the Maiden Theater. The next one will be on May 12th, 2017. There were many different styles of music that were presented during the concert, and all of them were unique and very impressive.


“Gumbo is a total experience that showcases the students playing the music that they want to play,” said Mr. Burke, who expressed enthusiasm towards the program. “I just thought it would be boring to have an all of one instrument or one section of music concert. I wanted to go outside the norm and give an opportunity to all students to just come out and play. “That’s why I called it GUMBO, because it’s a mixture of everything. I like that it can be any style.”

And it was good that he did. The students who participated in the program all voiced their gratitude and what the program has given them. As we’ve mentioned before, many musicians are very unsure of their skills, and GUMBO gave them the opportunity to leave their comfort zones. A veteran of the program also expressed his gratefulness. “When the audience gives you a good response; it’s very uplifting.”

“Musicians don’t always get the recognition that they deserve so it’s nice to be appreciated.” Many of the students who were in Gumbo expressed their frustrations towards the lack of appreciation that musicians get. And speaking of lack of appreciation, many students didn’t and still don’t know about GUMBO and all that it can offer.

“This was my first year attending and I was so surprised. I didn’t even know that our school had such talented people,” said an impressed individual in the audience. Many of the responses given by the audience were positive and genuinely surprised. This further proves that once given a chance, music is worth the same time and money that any other extracurricular receives.

Considering the fact that all of the participants come in with one thing already in common: a love for music, they all bonded quickly. “Community,” was how a student described GUMBO in regards to everything and everyone that was involved in the experience. “Music brings people together; unlike religion or politics which are divisive. In music, everybody can work together,” said Mr. Burke.

And to top it all off, a message that everyone in GUMBO would like to get out is, “Come to Gumbo!”