The marching band ended a successful season on Saturday, Dec. 3, after winning the Bronze medal at the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association 3A Marching Band Championship.
In order to qualify for one of the twelve competition spots, Samo’s marching band earned the first place in five other high school championships: West Torrance, Rancho Bernardo, Simi Valley, Irvine, and Moorpark, and according to Band Directors Michael Corrigan and Terry Sakow, band continued to dominate thereafter. “Out of the twelve bands, we had the highest music score,” Corrigan said. “This is the highest we’ve scored in all years.”
Sakow attributes this achievement to the students’ commitment to improvement.
“I’ve been here so long, this group of kids was one of the most focused I have had,” Sakow said. “The improvement the kids made in the rehearsal were shown this year. [It is] because the kids were so focused that we were so successful.”
The band was faced with the additional challenge of losing their practicing site this year. The track field was under construction, and the marching band had to rehearse on the baseball field. According to Sakow, the field was a “mud hole,” and it was bad for the band’s energy.
“The field condition is very important because it has a direct effect on how they perform. We lost some five hours of rehearsal because of the conditions of the field,” Sakow said. “When we actually got the field, the [band’s] morale went way up, because the lines were clear [and the field] was clean. It was a godsend. I wish it was here 20 years ago.”
Despite these challenges, the marching band still found time to support Samo’s football team. According to Corrigan, during this season they played at all home football games and at all CIF playoff games – three in total. Senior offensive lineman Noel Prasad said that it was a privilege to have the marching band during games.
“The marching band has been a dynamic factor in our success on Friday nights. They boost the team’s morale and they spark an energy inside of us. The songs they play really create an environment that makes us comfortable to play in,” Prasad said.
In order to both participate in important competitions and support the football team, sophomore tuba player Sam Clark said that the band’s secret was commitment, and giving up their Fridays and Saturdays.
“Marching band takes up much less time that a sport does; just more time on Fridays and on the weekend,” Clark said. “Getting back at 11 from the football games and then trying to get up the next day completely focused for the competition is hard sometimes, but we did it somehow.”
In the end, though, Clark enjoyed the season.
“The competitions [were] extremely exciting and fun, and all the time we [spent] on perfecting our show [was] worth that feeling of accomplishment after you walk off the field,” Clark said.
The dedication of the entire band satisfied senior Mackenzie Moody, one of the band’s drum majors. According to Moody, the band directors held them to high standards, which contributed to their overall success.
“I am really proud of the band for working so hard to achieve all that they did,” Moody said. “It was difficult with the field situation, but we all worked around that and managed to win third place in the championship.”
Overall, Sakow sees the way the marching band’s members handled setbacks as essential to having gone so far.
“I am very proud of the kids and the band. They dealt with a lot of challenges very well – most bands would have crumbled on the same conditions,” Sakow said.
The marching band’s next stop is Disneyland, where they will be marching at an annual parade down Main Street on Jan. 7.