The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Marching Band Prepares for Show

Even before the school year started, the marching band has been hard at work polishing their musical pieces. This year’s show is named REM, which stands for the state of sleep rapid eye movement. This state of sleep is where a majority of dreaming occurs. Every day, the band is practicing to improve their ability to play their music.

Not only have the players been learning their songs, they have also been practicing the marching part of their performance. Although the band has put in much effort, there are some new members who require extra practice time to master their instruments.

“What we’re working on right now is [that] we have a lot of people playing instruments that they have never even touched before,” Drum Major senior Anna Poltrack said. “So [we are] just building up that confidence and getting a nice full sound in there.”

During their practices, the marching band is on task.

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“It really depends on the day some days are just focused on music, some days are completely focused on marching, but the majority of the days are a mixture of the two,” Anna said.

Their marching techniques are much more difficult than it seems. Every member of their horn and drumline has to roll each step, by stepping with their heel first then setting the ball of their foot down, while keeping their upper body straight.

Because the students practice nearly 17 hours a week with physical workouts such as running to keep the band in shape, last year the district decided to give marching band physical education credits. Although students spend these practices building stamina and marching, they still credit much of their musical training to their band camps.

The two different band camps, home and away, make the band what it is today. At the home band camp, held a week before school starts, senior members of the band teach the newer players marching techniques and all the members learn the beginning part of band show. After several weeks of vigorous practice, the band embarks on a second away band camp where they finish rehearsing the complete show. This year, the students visited Walden West Science Camp.

“We learned the drill for the fourth and fifth movements [of our music] and by the end [of the second band camp] we were able to complete a full run through of our nine-minute show,” sophomore Nick Biggerstaff said.

After returning from their away band camp, the players got a week of rest before their first public performance at the Mountain View Parent Thank You. Many senior marching band members consider this first performance as a marker to show how much was accomplished at the band camp.

“I think the band did an incredible job at Mountain View,” Assistant Drum Major junior Noah Rulison said. “For a lot of the band, it was their first time performing in front of an audience, and I think they gave an amazing performance.“

Not only did the band perform at the Mountain View Community Thank You, it also competed at Chabot College on October 19 against Clovis High School. The band lost the competition by 10 points, making all the players have agreed that they still have a lot of work to do.

“We still have a lot to improve in terms of the musical and visual elements of our show,” Noah said. “In addition to fine tuning our music and drill, we plan to implement sound effects and props that add to the general effect of the production.”

A majority of these sound effects are planned to be narration pieces.

“The narration is just there to help the audience to understand what we are doing on the field,” Anna said. “It’s just basically to get the point of the show across so the common person can understand what the heck we’re doing.”

With the band on a track to improvement, their next competition will be on November 2 at Dublin High School. Although it is still early in the year, the marching band is already looking forward to their final competition at Fresno at the end of November. While the final competition is far off in the future, the band is still practicing every day to improve for their final competition.

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