Alumni of the Diamond Bar High School band program recently became a part of YouTube history as an integral part of the “Dear Class of 2020” virtual commencement.
The commencement livestream featured a variety of different videos, and in one of them the alumni mimed playing their instruments alongside another school’s choir to play “Nothing Holding Me Back.” Other videos featured performances and speeches from celebrities such as Shawn Mendes and Barack Obama. The stream was a collaboration between many public figures and leaders who intended to give the Class of 2020 a partial graduation celebration, even if it was digital.
The DBHS band alumni who participated in the video included John Lee, Seho Kwak, Cash Langi, Katie Samrick, Jerry Cheung, Patrick Zhang, Grace Chun, Carter Sun, Adam Gonzales, Omar Naji, Johannah Chung, Hampton Douglass, Hannah Choi and Jeremy Davis.
This is the second high-profile music video some of the DBHS alumni have been in, the first being the music video for singer and DBHS almuna Tiffany Young’s song “Over My Skin.” Steve Acciani, the instrumental music director at DBHS, reached out to band alumni on May 21 to coordinate the details. The video was filmed three days later.
“I got the opportunity when my former band director, Mr. Acciani, called me and asked if I could do a favor for him,” 2019 DBHS graduate and current UC Riverside student Cheung said via Instagram. “He updated me on the details later on [but] it seemed like there was a situation where it was a lot easier for participants who were being filmed to be 18+.”
Cheung said that for most of the takes, the DBHS alumni were pretending to play the music. However, a pre-recorded piece of their playing was featured in the audio.
“There’s also a quick clip at the end of the video that shows me dancing in the middle of a circle,” Cheung said. “That happened because I learned how to do an advanced crip walk [a dance] before the shooting [and] the producer saw it and actually liked it so he made me film a take where I solo freestyle the entire section.”
He said the filming process was relatively quick.
“We filmed at Cathedral High School in downtown LA [and] the whole process of filming took about an hour,” Samrick said via Instagram. “We [also] didn’t have to wear our entire uniform which was nice since it was so hot.”
Everyone on set followed social distancing procedures from start to finish of the filming process. The filming crew was also extremely small and made sure to keep their distance from the students. Another safety precaution included the maximum of around five people filming on set at once.
“We all went through a temperature screening and all the pens and papers we touched were immediately placed in a different container,” Cheung said. “We also practiced social distancing the entire set which is why all the actors in the video are so far apart.”
The filming process of this video also acted as a get-together for the DBHS band alumni who hadn’t seen each other for a while.
“I loved reuniting with them and seeing familiar faces that I haven’t seen for a long time,” said Lee over Instagram.