Rock stars of the band world

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By Stephanie Holland

Kurt Kilgus, drum major, leads the band in a pep song. (Mary-Anne Case)

By Stephanie Holland

They’re world famous movie and TV stars and they walk among us anonymously.

The Riverside City College Marching Tigers are known as Hollywood’s band.

They’ve traveled the world and have been featured in movies like “Dear God” and “Austin Powers.”

However, before they can be movie stars they must undergo a difficult training regimen that requires sacrifice and discipline. The commitment level and athleticism involved in being a member of the marching band is often times more intense than that of most sports.

A sports team generally has 15 to 20 members, but the band is comprised of nearly 200 members who must learn to move as one.

Practice starts with two laps around the track. They continue warm-ups by forming a circle where they are led by drum major Kurt Kilgus in stretching exercises that will become useful later when they are asked to effortlessly make difficult formations during their field show.

Like most sports teams the marching band must learn setups and formations, however they have the added pressure of learning music at the same time.

For a band with RCC’s reputation the expectations are always high, therefore the degree of difficulty must also be high.

This year’s field show theme is James Bond which means the music they are learning is not only extremely challenging, it is also extremely well known so it must be performed perfectly.

Kilgus explained that because their field shows run longer than the average high school field show, endurance is a major factor in their training.

They work on running to build up the stamina needed to perform an 11 minute show.

“Like any baseball team would take batting practice or run drills, we have basic marching and playing that we would do to build up technique,” Kilgus said.

The most complicated part of the band’s training is coordinating their marching skills, memorization and breath control.

This is accomplished by learning everything one at a time and putting them all together the way a basketball team might work on its fundamentals before learning to execute big plays.

The band is comprised of four different components: the brass section, the woodwind section, the drumline, and the color guard.

In the same way that a football team has an offense and a defense who must learn their plays while supporting the overall goals of the team, these different sections of the marching band spend time during practice rehearsing their specific parts of the music and field show in order to make the band as a whole look better.

The emphasis on teamwork is just as strong for the band as it is for any other sports team on campus.

Members of the band come from all walks of life; however what they all have in common is their level of commitment.

Practices take place four times a week, with three of those practices taking place in the evenings.

By the time band practice begins, many of the members have already attended a full day of classes or worked a full day at their jobs.

But when rehearsals start they must forget about all of those things and be ready to focus on the job at hand.

They must also spend several hours a week of their own time practicing their individual instruments.

To become a student athlete you must commit to a rigorous practice schedule, be a team player and represent RCC with dignity and respect, however add on top of that musical talent and showmanship and that’s what it takes to be a member of the Marching Tigers.

Just call them the rock stars of the band world.

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