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Band marches to a winning tune

Long hours of practice and rehearsal have paid off for the campus marching band. The group took first place in the Visalia Band Review on Oct. 18, scoring higher than schools almost double their size.

“I thought our band has been marching exceptionally well,” Paul McEntee, band director, said. “I expect us to do well in all of our competitions, and I have been very pleased that the band has been fulfilling my expectations.”

Band members are proud of their achievements.

“I think it’s great that we have been performing so well,” clarinetist Hannah Wilhelm, ’07, said. “When we get first place, it really makes all our practicing seem worth it. We’ve put a lot of work into our marching season, and it’s nice to see it pay off.”

The victory in Visalia follows the band’s first place performance in the Caruthers Parade on Sept. 27, a first in the history of the program.

“I was really happy with the way we performed,” trumpeter Andrew King, ’06, said. “It was really exciting to get first place, since our band has never placed that high in Caruthers before. The whole band was really pumped when they announced it; we cheered like crazy.”

Since the march in Visalia was a band review, rather than a parade, the victory becomes all the more meaningful. Band reviews are band-only performances, and competitors are put through a much more stringent judging process.

“I was really, really nervous before we marched in Visalia,” drum major Melissa Jimenez, ’05, said. “Caruthers wasn’t too bad because everyone is just at the parade to have a good time. But in Visalia, we had judges walking right alongside us, judging us as we go. It really makes you nervous.”

Another event unique to the Visalia Band Review is the standing inspection.

“Standing inspections are nerve-wracking,” percussionist Elise Aydelotte, ’05, said. “You have to stand there, perfectly still, and the judges come by and examine your posture, spacing, and the appearance of your uniform and instrument. Your eyes can’t even follow them as they walk by.”

Marching practices will continue as the band prepares to defend their first place finishes.

“I expect this band to get first place just about everywhere we go,” McEntee said. “I think we can definitely out-do most of our competition. But, that doesn’t mean we will slack off; we will to continue to work hard.”

The band next marches in the Selma Parade on Oct. 25 at 8:00 A.M. The parade will be televised locally on channel 18.

Concert season begins on Nov. 21 with the annual Friends of the Band Concert, held on campus in Ground Zero.

For more information on the band program, contact McEntee at [email protected].

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