By Jason Liu
The South Pasadena High School Tiger Marching Band and Color Guard kicked off its 2019 competition season October 12, at the Western Band Association Ayala Music in Motion Tournament.
With over 12,000 high school students participating annually, the WBA is one of the largest marching band organizations in California. Twenty-six high school bands participated in the contest. SPHS competed in the most competitive division, class 3A, which includes groups with 81 to 110 performers, against nearby schools including La Canada High School and San Marino High School. The Tiger Marching Band and Color Guard scored 70.800 overall, a 1.45-point improvement from the 69.350 mark earned at Ayala last year, good for 6th place in its division.
South Pasadena’s field show this year is entitled “The Firebird”. It is based on its namesake, Igor Stravinsky’s ballet written in 1910. With a diverse range of musical textures and graceful dancing, the ballet depicts the journey of the protagonist, Prince Ivan, through the magical realm of Koschei the Immortal where he eventually captures the fabled Firebird.
Freshman clarinetist Shaylee Yoon described her first band competition experience as very exciting, “I didn’t really know what to expect at first, but it was fun and I got to bond with people more… I’m happy that this was my first competition experience. I hope that we can do even better at our next competition and I feel like our band has a lot of potential!”
SPHS sophomore and assistant drum major Brad Kim was proud of the band, saying, “So far, the band has worked very hard this season. Our first competition really shows that we’re putting in a lot of effort into our show… As the season progresses, I hope that each band member will strive to give 110 percent, and to make great friends and lasting memories along the way.”
The following weekend the band and color guard traveled to Riverside City College on Saturday, October 19, 2019 to compete in the WBA RCC Big Orange Classic, their second competition of the season. SPHS earned 5th place is their division with a score of 71.550, a 0.75-point increase from last weekend’s 70.800.
The band scored very high in the music categories but earned scores significantly lower in general effect and visual performance.
Every adjudicator at the event records themselves giving comments and feedback during the show and the members of the band listen back to it for advice afterwards. South Pasadena received many positive comments, “Overall there are some really great things,” said one judge. Another said that they are “hearing great sounds from everybody”. But the most useful feedback is the critique, “The main problem is just the little things, keeping the feet in time, finishing the the musical phrases”. Using this knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of their show, the marching band and color guard will be hard at work to improve their score for next week.
Many contributing factors to the plotline of SPHS’s show entitled “The Firebird” were added for their third contest of the year, the SoCal Tournament of Gold at Vista Murrieta High School in Murrieta, California.
Hopes are high this year as the SPHS Tiger Marching Band and Color Guard, with a newfound confidence in their show, their peers, and themselves. Under long-time SPHS band director Howard Crawford and a newly-revamped instructional staff, the SPHS marching band is poised to have a breakout season this fall.