By: Ashlin Gray
Many El Segundo High School sports teams are competing in the State Championships this season. Among them is the El Segundo Eagle Marching Band, who are traveling to Heritage High School in Menifee, California on Saturday, November 17th, for the Marching Band State Championships. The band is under the direction of Steven Fox and Edie Rice and under the student leadership of Drum Major Rachel Cummings (Senior), Assistant Drum Major Stephen Clark, (Senior) Percussion Captains Samuel Ryan (Senior) and Jeannette Ledesma (Junior) , and Auxiliary Captains Tiana Austel (Senior) and Jessica Reed (Senior) . The band will take the field in competition with their field show entitled Revolution. The field show explores why a soldier sacrifices for his or her duty. It begins in a war-like manner, calling the audience into action. Then, in the middle of the show, the mood switches to an examination of a love so strong that soldiers are willingto make the ultimate sacrifice. The show ends with a celebration of personal triumph and a hope for a new beginning.
Previously, the band has performed in five competitions this season and received 1st place three times along with other awards such as the sweepstakes awards in High Visual, High General Effect, and High Band. The band aims to take 1st place at State Championships.
Regarding their season, marching band practice started in July for the new recruits. These “rookies”, about twenty-five percent of the marching band, experienced a three-day introduction to marching. Jessica Park, a freshman in the band and clarinet player said that “executing the show well, having the night practices, being focused, learning new things that can help me to be better mentally, and finally having that feeling of glory when we win [makes it all worth it]. Mr. Fox is amazing and makes us push ourselves out of our comfort zone.” Accomplishing something as a team was a common theme for most band members. “The sweet feeling of victory and triumph [makes band fun]… It’s hard, but it’s so worth the blood, sweat, and tears shed.” (Becky Tapia, Freshman—Color Guard). To many, band is also an opportunity to meet new people and create a team. “It gives me a chance to hang out with all of my friends and do something competitive.” (Nick Graves, Sophomore—Trombone). “Band gives us a sense of a team and something to strive for.” (Ben Hudson, Freshman—Trumpet). In August, the whole marching band returned for two weeks of 10-hour daily practices. In this time period, the band learned two-thirds of their field show. When school started, the band learned the rest of the show during their practices first period and after school practices once a week. They also performed at ESHS home football games in the fall.
“Music is a force that lives in everyone. I have learned to immerse myself in it. It has been the greatest experience I have been a part of and it is an experience that is too great for words.” (Christian Alva, Junior–Saxophone).To many band members, marching band is more than an extracurricular activity. “Personally, band has become my life and my legacy. I hope to be able to come back in 4-6 years and the band’s goal is to make it to Nationals and I will know that I helped to create that. I know without band I would not be where I am today and honestly I don’t know what I am going to do without it. The band is my second family and I love all the time I spend there.” (Kent Pluntze, Senior—Alto Sax). “Band has influenced me more than anything else in my life. It taught me what it truly means to care about something. The best lesson that band has taught me is to always do my best and giveit my all, if it is worth doing.” (Jimmy Russ, Junior—Trumpet). “Band is one of the few things that I truly work hard for and it has taught me what it really means to fully dedicate myself to something and how to put the team’s needs before my own. Being a part of the band program has taught me many valuable lessons such as leadership, perseverance, discipline, and dedication. Also of course, band is like my family and I’m honored to have been able to march with everyone in the program these past 4 years.” (Stephen Clark, Senior—Assistant Drum Major). “It’s been the most life changing experience. It has truly set me on the right path and changed my whole perspective on life and my potentials. I came into high school as an outcast, now I feel loved and accepted by 89 awesome people.” (Rachel Cummings, Senior—Drum Major). Band is a huge part of each member’s life and, at the same time, is an activity that is fun and entertaining. “What band means to me: following people with my tuba while playing The Fat Guy Song from ‘Family Guy’.” (Isaac Marcia, Junior—Tuba).
In the previous years, the Eagle Band has set a high standard of excellence. With a growing program, the band has reached new heights this year and has come a long way from the small band they started out with years ago. For the past three years, the band has gotten 3rd place at State Championships. The band members are excited to go to State Championships this year. “What makes band worth it is when you go in to [State] Championships and you realize how much all of those practices and the time you have spent working together, all the time at band camp, has paid off. It all just comes out in the performance.” (Alex Knoblock, Senior—Trombone). “Our band season has had its ups and downs, but overall it has been a successful year and I’m excited for Championships on Saturday!” (Chelsea Day, Junior—Bari Sax). “All of our hard work is about to pay off.” (Kimani Schumann, Senior—Trombone).
With a crusade on complacency, the band is striving for 1st place at Championships on Saturday. Go Eagles!!