Black Bear Brigade Sweeps Competitions

Tori Valdez, News Editor

The Selma High Black Bear Brigade Marching Band recently placed first in the 1A Division, at Washington Union High School on Saturday, October 12, 2019, where they received a score of 65.45. The students received all available caption awards of High Visual, High Percussion, High Music, High Effect, and High Auxillary. More competitive than ever before, the Bears would have also took first if they chose to compete in the 2A division, beating their rivals, Sunnyside High School. The field show marching band has 56 dedicated members this year and is excited to begin their season with success.

“That performance was a really good one for us as a whole,” said junior Daniel Acosta. “It showed all the progress we’ve been making throughout these past couple months.”

The students who participated on Saturday felt very proud of their performance as well as the progress they’ve made individually and collectively. At their first competition at the Modesto Invitational, the band scored a 58.05 and made lots of improvement as they also placed in divisions higher than they.

“We received really good commentary after our performance,” expressed senior Daniel Perez. “We were able to understand the mistakes we’ve overcome and the improvements that we need to continue to work on.”

Marching band is an activity that involves developed musical talent, placement organization, music memorization, breathing technique and requires physicality as the students must march the entirety of the piece while doing all of the above. The performers include instrumentalists, percussionists, and color guard members must fulfill all these tasks.

“It’s an activity where you have to be constantly moving and interactive,” said junior AJ Montijo. “Although it puts a lot of stress on the body, it is very exciting  to participate within the program.”

Although the band has undertook many changes, they continue to strive for success. 

“The numbers and size of the band are about the same as last year, but it has shifted in which part of the band that they are participating in,” said Band Director, Mr. Lima. 

Throughout the past year, the band program has decreased in numbers that has affected their division placement. Nevertheless, these significant changes lead to a positive outlook.

“Last year, we competed in the 3A Division and we dropped to 1A this year,” expressed Mr. Lima. “I will always hold strong that size of the band program does not matter. It is the quality. When the kids want to be there, they are more receptive as a group to the staff and the idea of pushing themselves harder. We see the same thing with sports, none are forced to be there, and our athletic teams are all pretty fantastic because they are driven to be there and driven to success.”

Among these challenges, the program has improved itself by increasing the selection of music classes that can be taken on campus. Jumping from five to a total of six has helped the band multiply their talents and abilities to perform. Although this may not seem like much of a change, these classes have shifted to help students participate during school and after school. 

“The kids are able to pick what they want to be in, and are more driven to be successful,” expressed Mr. Lima. “The ability to choose has been a part of the success.”

Besides working hard during class, the marching band must also practice after school hours to achieve their goals. 

“The long hard hours of rehearsals are difficult at times especially knowing that there will be a homework load when getting home from the rehearsal,” said junior Oriana Espiritu. 

The marching band also has students who participate in multiple activities ranging from sports to academics as well as community service involvement. 

“It helps teach important skills, like time management,” shared Espiritu. “I try to go with the flow of the band program, but I am still able to attend my other commitments of extracurriculars.”

Although conflicts with this may rise, students continue to be devoted to the program. Their dedication has made all their goals possible so far. 

“We have made really good improvements, but it isn’t going to cut it at the end of the season,” said Perez. “We need to know where we can get better and be better versions of ourselves.”