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Band marches in 1st Annual Big Fresno Fair Big Band Review

Competing against ten other local high schools, FC?s band marched around the dirt horse tracks at the Big Fresno Fair’s First Annual Big Band Review, Oct. 12. Despite the difficulty of the uneven ground provided, the band managed to take home awards as well as have an enjoyable time.

Band director Michael Ogdon said that the greater challenge arose when the band had to march through the crowd; this was one of the few times that having a smaller group worked to their advantage.

Sophomore Eric Cowin was awarded first place in the Open Drum Major category and placed second overall; the drum line took fourth place in the Percussion Competition. Although no award was given for the majorettes?s performance, sophomore twirler Ileana See placed in third.

The judges complimented the band on their choice of music, positive carriage and fullness of sound despite their small size. Some criticisms was made about sometimes being out of step, the volume of the percussion instruments, tone control and wearing white socks.

The band scored in all categories: marching, music, showmanship, twirling, drum major and flag team and after viewing the recording of this parade, the participating students remarked that they appeared to be more involved and enthusiastic than they were in the Caruthers Fair Parade a fortnight ago.

In regards to Cowin?s first place achievement, Ogdon says that he is excelling in his position as Drum Major and his first place award is a reflection of this.

“He has been working really hard to improve his skills,” Ogdon said. “He decided to try leading this parade without the traditional drum major mace and do it ?corps style.? There are an awful lot of things a drum major has to do to be successful. Eric has really grown in his leadership and he?s still only a sophomore. He will likely begin to mentor younger ones aspiring to take his place when he graduates.?

According to Cowin, ?The parade itself was a little disorganized, probably because it was the first year. Our band played strongly and placed well. The percussion was excellent; their beats were dead on.?

His level of talent at such a young age is truly impressive and the fact that he is being recognized and awarded bodes well for his future in music.

?I have a lot to learn and a lot to teach,” Cowin said. “It?s an odd combination.?

Freshman Lindsey Biehler who plays alto/tenor saxophone, participated in the event as well.

?I always like parades because it?s fun to play,” Biehler said. “Overall, we did pretty well, although we were a little off step. Marching through the crowd was really fun because we had to dodge all of the people in order to reach the entrance of the fair.?

Biehler?s brother, Andrew, is a junior at Fresno Pacific University and is majoring in music; both share the same passion.

?It?s cool to be following in his footsteps because when I was little I remember watching him do everything I get to do now,” Biehler said.

Overall, Ogdon was proud of his band’s performance and the awards they received. Their improvement since the Caruthers Fair Parade in September was noted and rewarded.

He says, “We like to think that we will be invited to perform again next year because of our sincere improvements.”

The marching band will have one more performance this year: the 92nd Annual Veteran’s Day Parade in downtown Fresno, Nov. 11. This is the largest parade of this sort west of the Mississippi River.

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