Photo by Darnella Davidson
Thirty members of the Los Angeles High School Marching Band were happy to play with Pharrell Williams during a screening and panel discussion for the 56th Grammy Awards. David Sears, a representative of the Grammy Foundation, asked the group to participate.
“It was an authentic experience as far as working with heavyweights in the business,” says Darnella Davidson, current L.A. High band director. “There’s only a certain amount of runs you can do. You can’t rehearse this like you can a football show.”
L.A. High played “Happy” with Pharrell and his band. Pharrell’s set also included the songs “Get Lucky” and “Good Times.”
Davidson says that the producers were impressed with her band. “When a music director says they want this from the drummers, it just took a couple times for them to get it, and they were able to fly with it,” Davidson says. “You’ve got to be very professional, and our kids are very professional.”
The L.A. High marching band has performed in many high-profile gigs in the past. “We’ve performed with George Lopez, and we’ve performed on TV shows before,” Davidson says. “We get called quite a bit to do gigs for Hollywood, whether it’s a TV show, whether it’s a video, whether it’s a special event, so that’s not uncommon for us. That’s how we fundraise.”
As far as working with Pharrell Williams, Davidson and her students had a wonderful time. “He really was great,” Davidson says. “The kids were just so happy to have done it. You can’t describe the high.”