Marching band retakes the field

October 9, 2021 — by Shannon Ma and Brian Sheen
Photo by Adrian Gecils
The marching band performs prior to the varsity homecoming game.

Two weeks before school started, about 150 students entered campus for band camp. For upperclassmen, it had been a year and a half since they had practiced together in person, while both sophomores and freshmen had never marched on the field before, making the experience a refreshing step toward normalcy.

The marching band has since been learning and rehearsing their three movement show, titled “Be Anything, Anywhere, Anyone.” The show is inspired by “Pure Imagination” from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” as well as Prokofiev’s “Symphony Number Five.” They were scheduled to first perform their show at the Cupertino Tournament of Bands on Oct. 9, followed by the Foothill Band Review on Oct. 23 and the Napa Valley Band Review on Nov. 13. 

“After a year like last year, I really wanted a positive spin on our show,” band director Jason Shiuan said. “As we were discussing the show concept, we talked a lot about how you can imagine what you want to be, or what a world will be like, or what you can achieve.” 

One of Shiuan’s main goals with the show is “to think beyond what our little bubble dictates,” so he incorporated unique visual aspects, including students mimicking birds or strongmen and dancing during the jazz section in order to put less pressure on individual technique. 

While Shiuan said the marching band staff was trying to avoid overwhelming students, they still needed to drill procedure, process and especially fundamentals. The music was simplified in technique, although Shiuan said he found that students were doing well enough to add more technique as the show continued to develop.

This year’s marching band schedule has slightly fewer 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday rehearsals and is more spaced out, in part due to the less stressful competition schedule. Additionally, because of the new bell schedule, some Blue Day rehearsals became sectional practices led by student marching band leadership.

“Managing my section is pretty fun, but it can be difficult at times,” junior saxophone section leader Stanley Yang said. “We have to spend more time on basics to catch everyone up, and newer members are less disciplined, so it takes us longer to get stuff done.”

So far, the marching band has performed at the halftime show of one football game and before the Homecoming football game against Monta Vista.

Marching band members are excited to travel to in-person competitions this season.

“I haven’t really gone anywhere since [the pandemic],” freshman clarinet player Jayden Ham said. “So competitions are one of those things that make you look forward to it on your calendar.”

Marching band students and staff said they are cherishing the opportunity to bond again and “look forward to creating that camaraderie,” Shiuan said.

“Spending time with my friends in band is something I’m happy about,” Yang said. “Band is the best family I could ask for.”

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