More band stories

Monache High School Marauder Band - concerts, etc.

Monache band sweeps up in Selma

October 30, 2007 - 1:15AM


SELMA -- They cheered. They jumped. They hugged and cried.

Emotions for the 165 members of the Monache High School marching band and auxiliary ran high Saturday evening when they heard their band announced as grand champions during the 43rd annual Selma Marching Band Festival and Field Show Competition at Staley Stadium in Selma.

As Monache played the final musical notes to their "Fiddler on the Roof" halftime presentation, the skies opened with a literal downpour of rain upon the approximate 3,500 spectators and band members who had gathered for the event.

But the pouring rain could not stop the show - nor the band and auxiliary - from shining.

As several people scurried for cover, the majority endured the torrent long enough to clap, cheer, and watch the Monache Marauders continue with their signature ending of marching toward the stands, never missing a beat or a step.

And for the 23rd time, MHS racked up the awards, including grand sweepstakes, halftime sweepstakes, field show music sweepstakes, field show general effect sweepstakes, and four first-place honors: majorettes, identification unit, parade band, and field show drum major.

Making the event sweeter, was doing it all in front of the 2007 co-grand marshal, former MHS band director Dale Anderson.

Anderson and former Reedley High School band director Burl Walter are the first people named grand marshals who are not from Selma.

"I was very honored and very proud of the band and of [MHS band director] Justin [Adams] and what he has done. He rose to the occasion and earned great honors," Anderson said. "It was great seeing it from the stands -- easiest job I ever had to do."

While under the direction of Anderson, the band dominated the competition and won Grand Sweepstakes 19 times -- more than any other band in the festival's history.

Adams, an MHS student who marched under Anderson, has continued the winning tradition.

"The way I try to approach it is, we are going to go and do our best show possible. They hit the field and they were fabulous," Adams said. "I was very pleased with their footwork and their music. As they finished, I felt they had [won] the half-time. What a great day to recognize Dale Anderson -- and a great day for us to earn Sweepstakes."

Adams said he was also happy to see the band from Granite Hill High School make their debut and to see the two schools cheering for each other at the band festival.

"The kids have been working really hard and I felt the competition offers an educational aspect. We get to hear the comments from the respective judges and that helps them become better musicians," GHHS band director Troy Rexelle said. "They did a great job. They put their heart and soul into it and left everything out on the field."

The bands were judged on a scale of 1,000 possible points - 500 for music performance, 300 for general effect and 200 for visual performance.

They are given three minutes to enter the field, 12 minutes to compete, and three minutes to be totally off the field, sideline to sideline and goal to goal. The band accumulating the highest score in parade and field competitions receives the Grand Sweepstakes trophy.

Also participating in the parade, but not in the field show competition, was the Burton Middle School band. The Burton band marched away with several honors.

The Selma competition started in 1965 with 12 bands when a former Selma High School band director suggested it to the Selma Chamber of Commerce as a fall festival.

"There had never been anything like it in the world. This is the very first one ever," said Randy McFarland, announcing the event for the 30th year. "Now there are hundreds, maybe thousands, such band festivals all around the nation and the world.


Music comes to Main Street


PORTERVILLE -- Friday night's “Music on Main Street” kicked off to a good start with the Monache High School Stage Band's performance at the Centennial Park gazebo.

With blue skies and temperatures in the high 70s, dozens of people brought lawn chairs or blankets and settled in to enjoy the free concert.

After a warm welcome from Chamber of Commerce board chairman Greg Woodard and an introduction of the band by Mayor Cameron Hamilton, the Monache High Stage Band opened with a fun number -William Christopher Handy's “St. Louis Blues” - a number that remains a fundamental part of jazz musicians' repertoire and a number that has been performed by many musicians, from Louis Armstrong and Bessie Smith to Glenn Miller and the Boston Pops Orchestra.

“St. Louis Blues” featured senior Laura Carabay on sax tenor. She soloed again in their next number, “Gone but not forgotten.”

“I think this is great. It has brought back a lot of memories,” Natalie Worrell said. “I grew up with band concert. We'd all dance to it every weekend.”

The music brought out similar sentiments from others.

Roy Tipton, 76, said he lives in the park's neighborhood and promptly headed there after hearing the band tuning up.

“This has brought back memories. I like to see the young musicians showing off their wares,” said Tipton. “I was a professional woodwinds musician for more than 20 years and am now limited to writing and composing music, but I certainly appreciate all of this fine music. This has been wonderful. There are a lot of good young musicians out there.”

All ages appeared to be enjoying the music. Nearby, two toddlers, 3-year-old Richard Zedda and 4-year-old Abigail Zedda, skipped around, playing on the grass as they clapped, cheered and danced to the music while their mother sat on a blanket holding 4-month-old Audry Zedda.

Amy Zedda said she walked to the park with her children after hearing about the concert at an earlier city Easter egg hunt.

“We live so close, we'll be here again. The children love it. They have lots of energy and are enjoying it,” Amy Zedda said. “This is very nice for the community. It is a nice wholesome family activity.”

As the band continued to play such numbers as “Route 66” which featured the trombone section, people continued to arrive at the park - many towing cameras and snacks. One couple brought a whole pizza to enjoy as they listened.

“It was a lot of fun,” said band director Justin Adams after the concert. “We had a good time. I was a little worried about the amplifier and the sound before we started, but it was great. We had a good sound off the back of the gazebo. It was a great kickoff.”

The music was not limited to the gazebo.

Several Main Street restaurants also offered musical entertainment after the park concert.

Acoustic guitarist George Pierce played at The Cellar, pianist Jimmy Turner entertained at Don Vino's, Brian Draco with his acoustical modern rock could be found at the Screaming Moose, and the Bobcat Blues Band performed at Subway.

“I think this is cool. People can come and hang out and chill and listen to music,” said 16-year-old Sam Diaz of Monache High School, who listened to the blues band with friend, 17-year-old Michelle Whitten. “We had gone out for ice cream and were driving by when we saw Monache at the park, so we stopped and listened. From there we walked down here to listen to this.”

A couple of dozen people smiled and tapped their feet as the band played “You Ain't Nothing but a Hound Dog.”

Parked in front of the establishment, three ladies also enjoyed the concert from the comfort of their vehicle.

Debbie Carganilla and her sisters, Carole, and Marge Chamberlain, said they enjoyed the Monache concert and then decided to head to Subway for a soft drink and to enjoy more music.

“I think it is great. We always said we needed something like this on Main Street,” said Carganilla.

Music on Main Street continues every Friday night through June. The next park concert in the series will feature the Granite Hills High School Jazz Band on April 13.



MHS drummers shine in Clovis

CLOVIS - The Monache High School Drumline and Colorguard brought a little California sunshine to the large crowd gathered at Clovis West High School on Friday and Saturday during the San Joaquin Valley Colorguard and Percussion Review 2007 Championships.

With a “Fun in the Sun” theme, Monache took the stage barefoot - wearing Bermuda shorts, colorful tops, sunglasses and floral leis.

Palm trees, blue waves and a big yellow sun painted on prop boards served as a backdrop to band members simulating sun bathing and frolicking in the sand.

Sudden jolting notes from the electric guitars sent the rest of the 27-member ensemble scurrying to pick up their instruments.

And starting with a snare drum beat, it was not long before the entire battery - five snare drums, four bass drums, a pair of quad drums and three cymbals joined in. The band proceeded to entertain the crowd with their pit musicians - electric guitars, tympanis, xylophones, drum set and other percussion instruments.

Playing Beach Boys music - including “Surfin USA,” “California Girls” and “Surfer Girl” - Monache's drumline show brought a breath of fresh air to the gymnasium, said Debbie Freeman, mother of bass drummer Zach Freeman.

“They were great. Simply awesome,” said Freeman from the stands after Monache performed.

“There is so much going on [on stage] - it sure is fun to watch.”

The pit and battery musicians weaved flirting and having fun into their performance, which included several solos and a drumming duet by the drumline co-captains, seniors Kristen Anderson and Troy Schuh.

Prior to Monache's performance, several bands portrayed dark, intense music and had their band members dressed in everything from black capes, phantom masks, skeletons and evil-looking characters from different movies - “Friday the 13th,” and the “Halloween” series.

Tulare Union High School's band performance included a sudden ear-piercing high-pitch shriek as they portrayed “The Salem Witch Trials” with their music.

“I don't like that dark stuff,” said Freeman, who was there with her mother, Patty Ramsey. “This was so refreshing and so uplifting.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Anderson and Schuh.

“This was fun and new,” said Schuh of their theme. “We can really get into the show. It is unique.”

Anderson agreed and also said she felt confident that the drumline performed well.

The band, in its fourth year of participating in Winter Drumline, earned a ninth-place finish in their division.

The Colorguard had not participated prior to this season. “The colorguard had a real successful year. They finished First [place] two shows ago and were bumped up to a higher division. At the last show they placed third and finally finished fourth in the championships,” said Adams.

“[Drumline] was also placed in a higher division but they were ready for the challenge. And we have continually scored higher each time; we just don't have the experience of some of the other schools.”

In all, more than 40 schools showcased their flag twirling and drumming abilities during the weekend event.

MHS returns with 4 awards


SELMA - More than 2,700 school band members participated in Saturday's 41st annual Selma Marching Band Festival and Field Show Competition at Staley Stadium in Selma.

Among them was the Monache High School Marching Band and Auxiliary who brought home four awards. But it was Reedley High School who marched away with the biggest smiles and largest awards - Parade Sweepstakes, Field Sweepstakes and Grand Sweepstakes, while Kingsburg High School claimed the Grand Marshal award.

The bands were judged on a scale of 1,000 possible points with 500 for music performance, 300 for general effect and 200 for visual performance, with the band accumulating the highest score in parade and field competitions receiving the Grand Sweepstakes trophy.

Monache has in past years dominated the competition and has claimed the Grand Sweepstakes trophy 21 times since 1971 - more than any other band in the event's history.

“I thought Reedley did a good job,” said Janet Richey of Porterville. “I grew up in Selma and attended Selma High School but one of the reasons we moved to Porterville was because of the Monache band. We really enjoyed watching the band. They've been great since the 70s.”

Jonathan and Janet Richey's son marches with the Monache band.

“I figured eventually they'd give it to Reedley,” said another MHS band-member parent, Greg Miller.

Monache returned with three second-place awards for parade solo twirler, parade mace drum major and field-show percussion and a third-place award for parade band in their division.

The results left several local band parents shaking their heads and stating that they didn't understand how the band did not place higher.

Prior to the announcement of the results, parent Jodi Harper sat in the stands and said she was confident that MHS would place high in the field show competition. Maureen Santos and Cindy Ratekin, also parents of MHS band members, agreed.

“That was the best performance yet,” Harper said of Monache's performance but prior to Reedley's show. “I've been here watching since the beginning.”

Reedley's band, known as the Big, Green Marching Machine - with more than 300 band members - ended with a Radio City Rockettes kick while playing “Georgia on My Mind” - prompting a standing ovation from the close-to-capacity crowd in the stands.

“Reedley has the largest band - the way Monache High School used to have before they split it up [with the arrival of Granite Hills High School],” said Jonathan Richey. “We've been coming to this for about 10 or 11 years and we've watched Monache beat Reedley six times in a row. Now it's Reedley's turn.”

This story was published in The Porterville Recorder on October 31, 2005

Monache band wins at Visalia Invitational

VISALIA - Dark clouds and light rain could not keep Monache High School's Marching Band and Color Guard from shining Saturday as they cinched the Showmanship Sweepstakes award during the 25th annual Visalia Invitational ”Music in Marching“ Band Review.

With more than 20 bands participating in street marching, percussion and field presentations, Monache also captured first-place in Field Competition, second-place in Drum Major - military unit, third-place in Field Auxiliary and a fourth-place in Parade.

”This is just the beginning. In Selma [an upcoming competition], we are going to rock,“ said field drum major Edgar Guzman. ”Now we know where we're at and we have something to shoot for. The next couple of weeks we are going to be working hard.“

The Visalia Invitational is an annual event co-hosted by the Visalia Unified School District and local Lion's International clubs with the proceeds divided between local Lions club community charities and the Visalia Unified School District music, arts and band programs.

The event attracted about 5,000 spectators and more than 1,500 students - including 155 band members and 30 auxiliary members from MHS.

The large audience, which braved cold air and occasional raindrops, exploded into hearty applause and cheers as Monache finished its presentation with its signature company-front ending of marching toward the stands.

”We have some great stuff. We were really competitive and had a great show,“ said MHS band director Justin Adams. ”We won Showmanship - that's the entertainment factor and crowd appeal. We were high visual on the field and scored 290 points out of 300.“

Adams, who is a 1992 MHS graduate, said he was happy with the students' performance and said he realized work needed to be done to find out what may have gone wrong during the parade performance. He also said he believes that the band will be ready in two weeks when it competes in the Selma Band Invitational.

Monache has dominated the Selma competition, claiming the grand trophy 21 times in the last 24 years.

At the Visalia Invitational, El Diamante High School of Visalia walked off with three of the six sweepstakes trophies, including Field-music Sweepstakes, Field Sweepstakes and Grand Sweepstakes. Kingsburg High School, of Kingsburg won the Parade and Parade-music sweepstakes.

Sweeping the title

SELMA -- They did it again. For the 20th time, the Monache Marauder Band captured the Championship Grand Sweepstakes title at the Selma Marching Band Review Saturday at Selma High School Staley Stadium before a crowd of about 5,000 people.

No school has won the Selma sweepstakes more times.

The band, under the direction of Justin Adams, performed "Army of the Nile" by Kenneth Alford in the street marching competition to snatch a first place win over 22 high school entries.

"Their hard work and dedication really paid off in the competition," Adams said.

Led by street drum major, Erik Santos, the band displayed fine musicianship and marching talents, said Adams.

Monache's majorette team placed first and solo twirler, Laura Rodriquez, placed second in the parade competition.

In addition, the color guard, under advisor Ruth Solis, obtained third place in the street competition.

Following the street performances, the band continued to shine at the field show competition. Field drum major, Daniel Imbach, led the 191 members of the band and color guard as they displayed their musical talent and artistry.

On the field, the band performed Dvorak's "New World Symphony" arranged by Key Poulan.

With their trademark company front ending, the band marched forward and off the field as the crowd applauded enthusiastically.

The half-time competition secured the band's majorettes a first place win. The band took a second place finish in their division, behind the Reedley High School Pirate Band.

James Penarejo, a Monache senior trombone player, collapsed after the band had completed their routine and had marched to the sidelines.

Penarejo suffered from an injured knee sustained four years ago. It occasionally flares up as it did on Saturday shortly after starting the field competition.

"It wasn't bad at the start," Penarejo said. "As we were walking onto the field Saturday, I stepped into a hole and it twisted my knee."

The pain escalated when he had to do a quick turn and kneel as part of the routine but he continued playing and marching, he said.

"I basically decided to hang in there," Penarejo said. "I had practiced so long and so hard, I couldn't let it all go to waste."

Penarejo completed the field competition with true Monache Band class and dignity, Adams said.

The field competition winners were announced first, followed by the announcements of parade winners.

The judging for the Championship Grand Sweepstakes trophy is complicated and is given to the band with the most overall points, Adams said.

Monache students, parents and fans held their collective breaths and sat on the edge of their seats, Adams said, as they waited for the announcer to declare the winner of the Grand Championship trophy.

Monache earned the most total points of any band competing in the festival even though they did not win top honors in either the parade or field show competitions.

Buchanan High School of Clovis, the festival's defending champion, won the field show sweepstakes while Madera High School earned the parade crown. Reedley High School also scored high and was presented with the Grand Marshal's trophy.

The crowd erupted and the band members flooded the field in triumph when Monache was announced as the 2003 championship winner, Adams said.

The students then took the trophy to Penarejo on the sidelines.

"The students responded and really had a desire to earn the points towards the grand prize sweepstakes,"Adams said. "I am really fortunate to be able to lead this fine band."