By Gary Mitchell
Clovis High School band members were on a mission for music excellence recently; and band members say: Mission accomplished.
A highlight in the accomplishment of that mission included winning top honors in the Heritage Music Festival in Anaheim, Calif., the last week of April.
The Symphony Band, directed by Bill Allred, received a superior rating, was selected as the “Best in Class AAA Band,” and won the “Best Overall Band” in the entire festival.
The Concert Band, directed by Keith Sacane, received a superior rating and was judged the Best in Class in the AA classification.
Bands participating in the international competition came from Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Canada.
“The CHS Symphony Band continues to win the best band overall awards at major festivals on a consistent basis, year after year,” said Wayne Anderson, music coordinator for Clovis schools. “It’s because of the leadership of the band directors and the work ethic, talent and leadership of the students.”
“We’ve had a heckuva band this year,” said band director Bill Allred. “It’s been a fun year. I’ve really enjoyed it. The students have had us add concerts because they wanted it. They’re an ambitious, great group of kids.”
CHS band president Vicky Fernandez, 18, leader of the clarinet section, said the band’s officers decided at the beginning of the year to establish as a mission statement that “every performance would be an unforgettable performance.”
“We had the desire to accomplish that and the ambition to do it,” she said. “Right now, I think we’re really tight as a band. We just know how to have fun with the music and expressing the music.”
CHS band vice-president Jerry Wang, 17, the trombone section leader, described this year’s Wildcat Band “the best band I’ve ever participated in.”
“We just started off the year with the students’ desire to succeed,” he said. “We all had the same goal to shoot toward. Every single performance was indeed unforgettable. The officers came up with that mission statement, and I felt we lived up to it.”
The band’s success this year culminated with the Anaheim festival performance, Wang said.
“I think that was our best performance,” he said. “We did outstanding.”
“We were pretty speechless when we won best overall band — even though we were screaming,” Fernandez said. “That was the highlight of the year.”
By virtue of the band’s earning an average score of 96 in the competition, the group has been invited to perform in the prestigious Bands of America Contest in Chicago next year, Allred said.
“Because our average score was above 92, we were invited,” he said. “It’s a great honor to participate in that contest. Our band had great leadership this year. They set a precedent with what they achieved this year. And we had a young band. Of the 58 students in the Symphony Band, only 16 of them were seniors.”