Slam Funk heads to Germany


Photo by Yearbook Staff

Slam Funk is a band composed of upperclassmen and led by Paul Nielsen. Slam Funk is going to Germany to celebrate Nielsen’s retirement with a trip and to play music together for the final time.

In the past, before COVID-19, foreign exchange students from many countries would stay with host families and students of GNHS. Part of the reason why Slam Funk is going to Germany is because Dr. Nielsen has relatives and friends in Germany.

“Dr. Nielsen knows anybody and everybody; he has a connection to this foreign exchange thing. He’s good friends with some people over there that are able to connect our band to school in Germany. Basically we are going to go over to Germany for two weeks, and we’re going to be foreign exchange students. We will live with a German family as well as we’re going to go to school there and perform at the school and around the town,” junior Rachel Garich said.

Leaving the country is a big deal, and leaving for the first time can be really nerve-wracking. Other countries have different languages, as well as formalities or standards which can take some time and difficulty to get used to.

“At home, my parents are really nervous about it. They were like why don’t we just get a ticket with you? I mean, they’re not going to, but it is a little scary getting to spend time in a host family’s house and how to know to trust them or being in a new country with different rules and different ways of speaking to each other. So, yeah, I’m nervous,” junior Grace James said.

Everyone has motives or a purpose for being involved in something. Rachel Garich shared her reasons about why Slam Funk is beneficial to her.

“It really helps me grow as a musician because all of the other bands that I’m in are just bands, they don’t have any vocals. And so usually, since I play trumpet, I usually play melodies. And instead in Slam Funk, the melodies go to the singers, so I’m learning to do a different part in like the musical hierarchy,” Garich said.

Bands typically have a style or genre of music they like to focus on. It can depend on preference or the members of the band. Lots of small bands travel around their town or go to festivals and events.

“We play music, and it’s mostly Motown or 60s music. And we kind of do gigs around Grayslake area and play at like summer festivals and things, but this is the big break,” junior Rory Dwyer said.
There are multiple reasons or motives people may have when joining an activity. Slam Funk is a great way to make music with others and get to know people.

“I enjoy the singers. We have so much fun together. We hang out all the time. It’s just a really fun group to be a part of, especially since we’re all upperclassmen. We all get each other, and they’re just a lot of fun to hang around. Plus, we make decent music,” James said.

Many opportunities come and go throughout life. It is up to the person to decide if they want to take advantage of a certain opportunity or not.

“I’m very glad that I got this opportunity because during this year, I was debating if I should join. The opportunity arose because one of the other singers wanted to do more on saxophone. I’m so glad that I took it because now I can do this,” Dwyer said.