High school bands are ranked and filed

Nov. 13, 2014

Josiah Patterson | Special to Viewpoints

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Proud family members, friends and entertainment-seekers gathered to hear band students from all over Southern California perform in the 10th Annual King Band Review.

Walking down Krameria Avenue in Riverside on the morning of Oct. 18, people could see and hear band after band practicing in the street for performances that would follow. The event was free of charge and open to the public.

Band directors instructed students as parents cheered encouragement for their children.

Parents stood next to their children’s bands and watched as they started practice marching down the street. They made a turn onto Cole Avenue to a warm-up section, and eventually made their way down the street to near Bergamont Drive, where they would perform in the parade. Parents briskly walked alongside keeping pace with the bands and taking pictures.

Judges waited at the end of the street with clip-boards to judge participating bands in categories such as marching and maneuvering, music and showmanship.

There were 13 high school and six middle school bands from across Southern California that participated. School spirit was prevalent as crowd members shouted uplifting school mottoes and encouraging words while each band walked up into performing position.

Band directors made sure the bands were ready before starting. The announcer gave an introduction and listed each bands’ achievements before they performed.

After the parade finished, crowd members made their way back to the King High School football stadium where trophies were awarded at an award ceremony.

Jason Magallanes, father of a Henry J. Kaiser High School band student, appreciated the event and the work his daughter put into it.

“My daughter works hard in these events to benefit her future,” Magallanes said. “She is on the soccer team too, and things like this get her motivated to do her best in high school. This kind of event gives students structure, confidence. Down the road, it gives them discipline. It helps their future.”

Magallanes sees the event as playing an important role in forming community.

“It’s great to see how parents support the kids.” Magallanes said. “As a community, it got our support.”

The King High Band Review, originally named the Lester Oaks Band Review, was sponsored by the Riverside Unified School District.

“They spent a lot of money and didn’t see a lot of return,” said Charles Gray, Martin Luther King High School band director. “They looked out and said, ‘well, there are not a lot of people out there.’”

The district did away with The Lester Oaks Band Review in 2002, but Gray was granted permission to do the Riverside King Band Review in 2004.

The King High School Band hosts the event and marches in the parade, but they are exempted from receiving awards. They are judged, but do not compete in their own band review, according to Gray.

“I request that the judges adjudicate us, that they evaluate us,” Gray said. “So they will give us sheets and numbers just like the other groups.”

Gray attributes the band review’s 10 year success to three factors.

“You have to have the director that has the vision, the parents who can make it work and the kids who take part in it,” he said. “You have to have all three.”

Gray said the only money the band review makes is from food sales, and they normally only break even.

“We all here at King High School do it for the love of the activity,” Gray said.