KINGSBURG – Kingsburg High Band Drum Major Adam Bratton says even though they’re competing for awards, band students have a bond through their shared love of music and performing that will likely not be repeated in this lifetime.
“I think it went amazing,” he said after all the trophies were awarded at the third annual Viking Classic Nov. 9 at Kingsburg High’s stadium. “It’s always super fun to have other schools come to your campus and perform and have just as much passion as you do about the activity that you do. I think it’s great, the camaraderie between band kids. No one has a brotherhood like band kids do.”
Among local bands competing at this event were:
- Selma High Black Bear Brigade Band and Color Guard whose 2019 field show is “Rain Forest.” Alexander Lima and Regina Jimenez are the directors and the drum majors are Noelle Marroquin and Ari Matias Perez.
- Hanford High School Marching Band whose 2019 field show is entitled, “All In.” Janet Levine is the director and drum majors are Ethan Cherry and Samuel Jordan.
- Hanford West Marching Band whose 2019 program is “Mechanize.” Eric Ramirez is the director and their drum majors are Garret Bell, Anthony Muwaswes and Cassandra Perez
- Sierra Pacific High Golden Bear Marching Band and Color Guard whose 2019 field show is entitled, “The Darkness Within.” They are under the direction of Jeff Detlefsen. Their drum majors are Delaney Garivay and Aileen Garcia.
Bands are classified according to how many band members are performing on the field. In their respective categories, Selma High took first place and brought home awards for High Music, High Visual, High Auxiliary and High Percussion.
Hanford High placed second and earned the High Music award. Hanford West took second and earned the award for High Percussion. Sierra Pacific placed third. Since Kingsburg High was hosting this event, they put on an exhibition performance at the end of the night.
With field show performances evolving more into a musical theater experience, Bratton encouraged residents to attend as the competitions have changed over the decades.
“It’s become more artistic. It’s not just a football half-time show at that point. It’s its own beast.”
Each school’s field show is based on a theme with coordinating choreography by the color guards, and includes voice overs, sound effects and colorful props.
“You start putting the choreography and the dance into it and it becomes own category. I love what it’s evolved into,” Bratton said. “Whenever I watch a show, I know nothing is going to be the same about any one of the shows.”
Selma High continued their winning streak and is now heading in to the upcoming Western Band Association’s 1A/2A/3A Class Championships undefeated in Class 1A.
“We’re going into Championships strong,” Director Alexander Lima said. “We’ll see how it goes since we’ve never had such a big competitive field,” he said of the number of bands expected for the WBA event at Kingsburg High on Nov. 23 and 24. More than 40 bands are expected to compete, including both Selma and Kingsburg’s bands.
Kingsburg High’s Director Mike Schofield complimented Selma High’s victories that day.
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“Their band was stronger than I’ve seen them. I thought they were very strong and did a good job and the judge’s agreed.”
Lima said their “Rain Forest” field show reflects the “Avatar” movie’s story where a dead tree is nurtured to the point of rebirth. The band’s props of trees and forest backdrops add to the atmosphere.
“The tree is dead at the start of the show and all the branches are white and dried out. There are no leaves and no color on the tree. At the end of the show, a big moment is when the tree comes to life and color guard members pull the dried branches and pouches drop with the leaves.”
Reflecting that concept, Lima said after three years at the school he sees the students’ efforts to rejuvenate their program paying off.
“I’ve always told them they get what they work for and they’ve put in enormous amounts of work this year. They are earning what they worked for. It shows them that with hard work and determination and really trying, you can progress and get better.”
Schofield said their “Who is Who?” show is based on Seuss’ Sneetches characters, some of whom have stars on their bellies while others do not. The characters get caught up in adding and removing stars to keep their special status, but eventually learn that none are superior. Eventually, they become friends rather than exclude each other. The color guard spins S-shaped props to signify Seuss and the props are the star off and on machines.
“It’s kind of an anti-racism message. It doesn’t matter if you have star on or if you don’t,” said. That’s why the final prop turns around and asks, ‘who cares?’ and they all hug each other and all the different colors of plumes come out at the end. We’re trying to drive the message home that in the end, we’re all the same.”
For the WBA Championships, 42 bands are anticipated to perform on Saturday with the top 15 competing on Sunday, Schofield said.
Judges focus on different aspects of each performance looking at different elements such as visual effect, music, ensemble, percussion and color guards as they score each show.
Lima agreed that the bands’ performances are more than just marching and music.
“This is like musical theater on the field. You’re actually trying to share some kind of story. It’s developed a lot,” he said.
Even if audience members do not have a student in the band, Lima still thinks they’ll be impressed with each production, from the smaller bands with less than 60 students to those with 141 or more.
“I’d say they’d be missing out on one of the best entertainment events on the West Coast if they don’t come out to Championships. Three of the five classes that WBA has are competing here next Saturday and just our class alone has 16 groups competing in it. Don’t assume that because a band is small, that it’s not going to be a fun show. Some of the heaviest hitters right now are the small groups.”