SELMA – Fowler High may have walked away with the Parade Sweepstakes award at the 55th annual Selma Rotary Band Festival, but as far as local band students were concerned, it was their time to show music performance and marching skills in addition to hometown pride.
The parade included 66 floats, bands and local businesses with entries decorated for the Shine On Harvest Moon - A Salute to Agriculture theme.
Rotary President and parade organizer Char Tucker said she was thrilled to see Downtown Selma packed with parents and community members and visitors from as far away as Riverside taking part this year.
“They told me they had a blast,” she said of Ramona High’s Band that traveled from Southern California to compete in the parade. “We’re hoping to get even more bands from Southern California. We’re really excited that they came. They are all excited and they work so hard,” she said of all the hundreds of band students taking part.
Since Selma High’s Marching Band is the host band, they do not compete in this event, however they do get to kick off the parade and would later perform their halftime show which is entitled “Rain Forest.”
Other local high school marching bands such as Riverdale High went on to take second place in the Class 1A Division in the parade competition. Hanford West took first place in the Mace Drum Major category, first place in the Class 5A Division and won the Visual contest. Selma’s Abraham Lincoln Middle School took third in the Junior High Division. Results for the field show competition had not yet been released at press time and will be published next week.
Selma High’s Drum Major Noelle Marroquin said the Band Festival is always especially meaningful to the students as their hometown finally gets to hear them play.
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“I really like how percussion heavy it is,” she said of the field show. “We’ve got some really great percussion elements along with some really nice vocals from the band that gives it a nice tribal feel.”
Assistant Drum Major Arimatis Perez said since most of the band members have been involved in the program for a while, the Band Festival gives them a chance to share skills that have been years in the making.
“We work really, really hard and a lot of times, others don’t see what goes into it. We just want to be appreciated. I think it went really well for us and everybody here. It’s a new experience because we’ve never done it like this. But overall, it went pretty successfully.”
The field show would take place at Kingsburg High’s Stadium as Selma High’s stadium is currently under reconstruction. That saddened the students, but Marroquin said once it’s time to take the field, it’s the performance that mattered in the end.
“We’re all looking forward to [the stadium] getting built a lot, but Band Festival is like any other competition. It’s like if we were going to Modesto for our first competition or Fresno State for our next one. If anything, it’s a good way for us to keep practicing the whole show day mojo. And it does mean more to us all because it’s our home show. We get to show everyone what we’ve been working for to make them proud.”
This year’s Grand Marshal is Haskell Henson, a Selma High graduate from the Class of 1961. Henson worked for Selma Unified for 37 years and coached generations of track and cross country students. Retired but still coaching, Henson is eager to see the completion of Selma High’s Staley Stadium and its all-weather track. Henson and his wife of 55 years, Diane, have three grandchildren, nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.