Marching Band and Color Guard students at Los Altos High School spend approximately 20 hours per week together on the football field learning intricate marching steps, memorizing music, twirling flags, throwing rifles and telling a story set to music.
Students perform their show at Western Band Association field show events, competing against other bands from California, Oregon, Washington, Utah and Arizona. In prior years, the band and color guard have earned many first- and second-place finishes as well as several recognition awards for their musical performances and visual presentations.
This year’s ensemble, working to achieve the same standard of excellence, has earned a second-place finish in its first competition.
The 2013 competition show, “R.E.M.,” is a nine-minute, tongue-in-cheek rendition of a dream in which a girl falls asleep, finds herself in the middle of a nightmare and wakes to a happy ending. It features the music of Edvard Grieg, Sergei Prokofiev, Karl Jenkins and Samuel Barber. The drill depicts an eye closing, a funeral and a scary chase, all presented with an element of humor. Elaborate props bring the story to life.
Approximately one-half of the 73 band and color guard members have no previous marching band experience, as most of them are freshmen. The experienced members have welcomed the new members and taught them what it means to be a part of the ensemble: Commit to achieve, be proud and support each other as family.
New member Meg Murphy, a sophomore, said her experience so far has been a lot of work.
“But it is so worth it,” she said. “Everybody should do this – it’s really fun.”
Music Director Ted Ferrucci said he is pleased with the growth of the band since the start of the season in early August.
“This is a very complex show, but the students have risen to the challenge of creating an outstanding show,” he said. “I am proud of the work ethic of this ensemble.”
Ferrucci added that the group’s goal is to peak Nov. 23 at the Western Band Association Championships.
“At the rate we are improving, we are right on track,” he said.
The Los Altos High Marching Band and Color Guard invite local residents to attend their annual Fall Finale 10:30 a.m. to noon Nov. 9. They will perform “R.E.M.” on the football field, 201 Almond Ave. Immediately after, guests will have the opportunity to go on the field with students and experience what it is like to be in a marching band.
The Fall Finale is the primary fundraising event that supports the school’s instrumental music program. The event includes a marketplace, a raffle, a bake sale and a silent auction.