By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer
The odds seemed stacked against the Clovis High School band this year at the Zia Marching Band Fiesta in Albuquerque.
Not only did the band include freshmen for the first time, but its routine included more maneuvers and complex songs than in previous years.
But the CHS Wildcat Marching Band pulled it off and won the grand championship Saturday for the sixth time.
Considered the state’s top marching contest, the event featured 32 bands from New Mexico, Texas and Colorado.
Clovis’ score of 91.65 was also the highest awarded to a New Mexico band in the 30 years of the Fiesta, according to Clovis Band officials.
“That Saturday night there was not a dry eye around … Everyone was just bawling, happy with emotion,” said CHS Band Director Bill Allred. “It was just a magical night for the kids.”
Allred credits the high score to the band’s routine this year, which incorporated about 20 more formations than the usual 60.
“The more repertoire, the more information the kids are processing, the more credits you will receive,” he said. “It’s very difficult to do that and if you pull something off that way and get everything together visually and musically, it becomes that much more impressive.”
The band’s inclusion of freshmen swelled numbers to about 170 and added to the complexity of its routine, Allred said.
“I certainly think adding the freshmen certainly made a big impact in filling up the field,” he said. “With the band being bigger, you spread out in the field to get the timing. (During) our last chart we were spread completely across the field and that’s a very difficult task to do, to be able to do it and do it well.”
Clovis High School senior and band president Tim Stewart wasn’t sure at first what adding the freshmen would do to the band.
“At the beginning of the year when we started putting all the drills down adding the music, it was very difficult because we had the people coming in that they didn’t know what to expect,” he said.
But the months of hard work paid off during Saturday’s competition.
“Honestly, I knew that by the end of the year we would give something that would be special to everybody, but I never would have imagined coming in and giving such a magical performance,” he said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the kids in this band and how hard they worked.”