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Student Band Purely Indigo Takes the Stage

Senior+Maggie+Lee+%28right%29+sings+%E2%80%9CWaste+of+Time%E2%80%9C+by+Early+Eyes+during+Purely+Indigo%E2%80%99s+practice+for+the+Talent+Show+on+Feb.+14+in+the+Creek+band+room+while+junior+Drewes+Emerson+%28left%29+plays+bass+and+senior+Nathan+Krause+plays+the+drums.
Carly Philpott
Senior Maggie Lee (right) sings “Waste of Time“ by Early Eyes during Purely Indigo’s practice for the Talent Show on Feb. 14 in the Creek band room while junior Drewes Emerson (left) plays bass and senior Nathan Krause plays the drums.

On a sunny September Saturday, a brand-new student band took the stage at Willowstock, an annual music festival hosted by the Willow Creek neighborhood. They were an instant hit.

“We were all told we were gonna play this gig and open for a bunch of dad bands, and we kinda just crushed it and everyone was wanting more,” 2022 Creek graduate Sam Hilvitz said. “It was really awesome to see and just know that we have something pretty cool going on.”

For Purely Indigo, founded by four current Creek students and Hilvitz, it was their public introduction to the world – but in reality, they’d spend months preparing for the day.

“The guy who runs [Willowstock] was like, ‘Alright, we need a high school band to play,’” sophomore Jacob Krause said. “And then my dad was like, ‘Okay, you gotta get a band together.’ So then, I did.”

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Jacob and his brother, senior Nathan Krause, both longtime musicians and active members of Creek’s marching, concert, and jazz bands, first reached out to senior Maggie Lee, hoping she would be the lead vocalist. Lee jumped at the opportunity.

“I’ve always wanted to be in a band so I was really excited to get this opportunity,” she said.

They later recruited junior Drewes Emerson, a bassist, and Hilvitz, a pianist. Jacob played guitar, and Nathan took over the drumset.

“I was really happy to join when Nathan reached out to me about a band he was putting together for his neighborhood’s ‘end of summer music festival,’” Emerson said. “I love playing live music for people and I was more than happy to join Purely Indigo for that reason.”

With the exception of Hilvitz, all members of Purely Indigo were also in marching band, which involved daily practices in the weeks leading up to school and three days a week after school once it started. And yet, Purely Indigo “practiced every single day,” Jacob said.

“Practices are always at the Krause house, just because that’s where there’s good equipment…especially because the Krause brothers’ dad is a professional musician,” Lee said. “We’re all just kind of squeezed into the Krauses’ living room.”

The group quickly formed their identity around indie music, though Lee joked that Hilvitz once described them as “jazz punk.” And as for the name Purely Indigo?

“I think we did a name generator app,” Lee said. “We just kept clicking through it. And then we were like, ‘oh, Purely Indigo, that’s kinda cool.’ And then we kind of just stuck with it.”

The end goal, Willowstock, proved to be a major success. Nathan said part of the thrill was how real of a gig it was.

“We had an actual soundcheck, like real dudes soundchecking us,” he said. “It was sick.”

After Willowstock, the band set its sights on the future. They’ve practiced as regularly as possible since, and played in the Power Week Talent Show on Feb. 14. They also recruited a new member – junior Isabella Sandvall, a saxophonist, joined shortly after Willowstock.

“They asked if I would join because they were trying to establish a horn section,” Sandvall said. “I really wanted to be in a band environment outside of school that I could take my own creative liberties with, like soloing and the style.”

Sandvall, like the other members of the band, plays music in school, too. But Purely Indigo, she says, has given her the freedom to go further with music.

“It’s been really good for me developing skills that I’ve been working on by myself while I’m practicing it, just putting it into context with different styles of music outside of jazz, outside of classical music and into a more pop, funky setting,” Sandvall said. “We’re just kind of screwing around and having a good time.”

The same creative liberty that attracted Sandvall to the band is also what has proved so fruitful for other members.

“My favorite part about playing in Purely Indigo is that there are no limitations for what we can do,” Emerson said. “The song we played at the Talent Show is only supposed to be about two minutes long, but we have the creative freedom to say ‘why not put a sax solo or do an extra chorus.’”

Both Krauses want to take the band to the next Willowstock, this time as a lead act, not an opener. And many of the members want to start making original music, too. But regardless, all six of them know they want to preserve the group for as long as possible.

“I just hope that in the future, even if we stop performing for people, we can still find some time for us all to jam and have a good time,” Hilvitz said.

This story was originally published on Union Street Journal on March 11, 2023.