Despite being the only one in its competing group, the Los Altos Eagle Marching Band still has its share of competition.
According to Drum Major senior Mo McBirney, under the new and improved student and tech management, the marching band has improved greatly since last year.
“Last year our student leadership and adult staff were not that strong,” Mo said. “But this year our student leadership is much more responsible and mature and we have more drill instructors. So we have more people on the field, just helping us get better.”
According to Mo, because the band has around 87 band members and a color guard, it is designated as AAA. A and AA bands, according to band director Ted Ferrucci, have 50 and 60-80 band members, respectively. Other competing bands are usually smaller with around 50 members. Questions were raised earlier this year over the Eagle Marching Band’s status as the only AAA size band in Northern California as it meant that often the band would not be competing against others in its size division.
According to Color Guard captain senior Jessica Fan, many bands have been dropping in size because of funding issues, and therfore size division. In addition, because the league the marching band competes in, the Western Band Association (WBA), is one of the most competitive in California, many other AAA bands decide not to compete in it.
“We’ve been doing well rank-wise mainly because there’s a lot less competition,” Jessica said.
While Mo and her band may not be competing against other size 3A bands directly yet, to win the highest award, the sweepstakes prize, the band must compete against A and AA. This requires hard work.
“We are always guaranteed 1st place and caption awards, but we still have to work really hard,” Mo said. “This one time, we didn’t perform so well and lost sweepstakes to a A band.”
Having not competed against any other AAA bands yet, the band is getting slightly nervous about competing in the WBA Championships in Diablo Valley where they will have to compete against other AAA bands.
“It’s hard to gauge where we are in our division,” Mo said. “But we’re proud of what we’ve done.”
With two competitions under its belt, one of which was a sweepstakes win, the Eagle Marching Band is doing as well as ever predicted.
“The band is still young,” Ferrucci said. “We have around 60 1st or 2nd year marchers. But they’re doing well; it’s one of the strongest freshmen classes I’ve seen in the 10 years I’ve been here. But we’re not about the trophies; we’re about pursuing excellence. We keep it challenging with hard music and a lot of movement. We’re taking risks musically and visually.”
This year’s marching band theme is “Arctic Vision,” and the season will finish with the WBA Championships on Saturday, November 22 to Sunday, November 23.