Band places first in division at Cupertino competition

October 16, 2018 — by Andrew Li and Jeffrey Ma

The marching band competed at the Cupertino Tournament of Bands and placed first in their division.

The marching band started its season strong at the Cupertino Tournament of Bands on Oct. 13 following its Senior Night performance the night before at the school’s Benny Pierce Field.

At the tournament, the band performed its show, “A Dream Within,” and took first place in its division, 6A,  but lost to Homestead High School in the overall rankings.

While director Jason Shiuan was proud of the band’s score and judges’ positive comments, it was the students’ performances that he valued the most.

“I felt that the band performed,” Shiuan said. “You could hear it in their sound. They had so much energy and confidence when they stepped out onto the field.”

Drum major senior AJ Lee called the competition “the best run we have done so far of the show” and “a good starting point for the season.”

Even though they had just finished learning new choreography just a week before the competition, band members executed it well. However, they were not able to learn the entire show in time for Cupertino.

“The students’ ability to be flexible and adapt quickly has really impressed me this week,” Shiuan said.  “At the same time, we struggled because we had so much new information this week — we simply could not fit everything in.”

Despite the show being incomplete, the band still scored relatively well, which means that the judges understood the theme, Shiuan said. Shiuan plans on finishing the show and refining many musical and visual ideas in the next few weeks. The next competition is Bands of America NorCal Regional on Oct. 20 at Diablo Valley College.

“Now is about really coordinating how visual moments can directly support and highlight all the musical content we have,” Shiuan said. “We'll also continue to refine our musical ability with lots of slow practice and building technique and fundamentals.”

Shiuan emphasized the importance of each member's contribution to the whole band. Every member needs to approach posture, confidence in count structure, musical responsibility and visual commitment, all with the same high level of energy and engagement. The more the band narrows the gap between individuals’ performance skill, the more impactful they can be as an ensemble, he said.

Another struggle the band had was timing, Shiuan said. The performers struggled with playing in time because of the football field’s large size.

In addition, many members, including Lee, were nervous before the competition, but settled in throughout the performance.

“As soon as I started conducting, I began to enjoy it a lot more,” Lee said.

Shiuan expressed pride in what the band was able to achieve in such a short period of time.

“At the end of the day, I don't let the results get in the way of how I felt our performance went,” Shiuan said. “I felt like the students hit all their goals in the performance and walked off the field feeling proud of what they accomplished.”