Marching Band and Color Guard shine at Tournament of Champions

Marching Band and Color Guard take first place in their division at their final competition of the season despite technical difficulties


Darpan Singh

Senior Color Guard Member Katherine Chui takes her final stance at the end of the closer.

Darpan Singh and Vincent Zhao

The MVHS marching band runs through its show during its last rehearsal of the year. (Marching Band | Used with permission)

Flags spinning, trumpets blaring and percussion laying down the beat, MVHS Marching Band performed its last ever performance of True North, the first show made custom for the band. Senior and soloist Tia Kledzik took the stage, ready to pour their heart into their solo, and as a senior, their last performance. As they pushed air through their trumpet, letting out the first few notes, they realized the speakers and field elements had lost power. Regardless, Kledzik and the rest of the band, however, adapted to the situation and overcame the technical difficulty, earning first place in their division.

The day started at 10 a.m. for Marching Band members, meeting early at MVHS for its final rehearsal of the season. After loading up the trucks with instruments, uniforms and set pieces, members left for lunch for an hour before returning to MVHS to head to the competition.

Hui-Man Hsu, a parent volunteer, assists in handing students their uniforms. (Darpan Singh)

After a two hour bus ride, the Marching Band arrived at Rodriguez High School in Fairfield at around 5:30 p.m. Parent volunteers, staff members and students helped unload the trucks as students got into their concert attire. The band then headed to the staging area. Every band was given half an hour to warm-up before the performance, which, according to brass and visual technician Timothy Yang, the band had spent months working on.

“A lot of prep work has gone into this performance [and] everything builds on each other in this activity,” Yang said. “We start all the way [at] Band-camp before school starts. We have a full week of rehearsals every day and just every single rehearsal after that — Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays — just nonstop working.”

As students lined up on the side of the field waiting for the band before them to finish, tensions were high among members, but Yang said they were not worried.

“I expect the kids will do great,” Yang said. “One thing that we really tell the kids is that they have to practice how they perform, and basically everything that we did in the run through earlier today is what we’re expecting to see.”

Senior and Section Leader Dylan Ong keeps his instrument warm, waiting for the signal to lead his section onto the field. (Darpan Singh)

The MVHS Marching Band took to the field, ready to perform. Parents and staff members gathered on the side of the field as students took their starting positions when the announcer introduced the Matadors. The announcer also read out messages from parents and loved ones to the seniors. Finally, the announcer asked, “Drum Major, is your band ready?” and senior and Drum Major Angelica Wang turned and saluted the crowd, signaling the start of the show. 

The show, comprising of an introduction and three movements, began with audio effects from the speakers as the students moved from their starting positions and into formations. The combination of electronic audio effects with traditional marching band composition provided the audience with a unique audio and visual experience. 

Senior and Drum Major Angelica Wang directs the band to start the performance. (Vincent Zhao)

“We’ve done a lot with our electronics set up this year, to really help highlight some of our soloists,” Director of Instrumental Music John Gilchrist said.

Everything was going according to the months of preparation, refinement and hard work leading up to the performance. 

For an unknown reason, however, the Marching Band lost power to their field elements, resulting in the loss of the audio effects and amplification of the soloists, both essential components of the show.

“I couldn’t hear myself very well because normally I can hear myself slightly through speakers,” Kledzik said.

The saxophone section plays front and center during the ballad. (Vincent Zhao)

Reactions varied throughout the band. Junior Sylvia Ker was confused: although she “didn’t notice that the speakers had a problem,” she did notice that “the light in the box suddenly disappeared.” Junior and assistant saxophone section leader Nikolas Margaritis, however, was “pretty shocked,” but he “kept pushing through” and according to him, “the rest of the band did too.” Although they had never rehearsed this scenario, the Marching Band decided they were not going to let this stop them from doing their best according to Gilchrist.

After the show, the Marching Band gathered to share their appreciation for all those involved in the production of the show: parents, staff, teachers, students and music booster donors. Members shared thanks to each other and farewells to the graduating seniors as they ate dinner together at. Overall, Gilchrist believes the performers did an incredible job, despite the unfortunate issue with the power.

“I think that the musicians and performers themselves did everything that they could do [during] the power outage and I’m incredibly proud of them,” Gilchrist said. “There’s no comparison from where we started off to where we ended up. They really performed their hearts out in every way that they possibly could — it was a stunning performance.”