Article Contributor: Jackie Wren
This weekend we attended the Franklin High Band Review in Elk Grove. For new students, there was an excitement and sometimes an overwhelming feeling about being there. “Where do I go?”, “What do I do?” The REU has not competed in this competition since 2016. But for returning members, to be there was like clock-work. Some days are more hectic than others. However, for the first show we like to have a little extra time and a more relaxed warm up.
By noon the kids were sweating in their uniforms, practicing in sections and guard was warming up in a grass area. At each show the unit gets one chance to practice the parade in a designated “warm up zone” that mimics the performance zone. After moving through this we were immediately on the parade route. Upon approaching the strip of white tape, the group gets a total of 450 feet to march and play perfect, with the judges’ stand 250 feet from the starting line. Among the competing straight lines and hard rhythms, the group walked away placing 4th in the 5A parade division. This is the division that holds the largest groups in the circuit, including our sister school, the Fairfield High Scarlett Brigade.
The city of Fairfield has 3 of the best marching bands in Northern California: Armijo, Fairfield, and Rodriguez. It was a joy to see Fairfield and Armijo lined up on the side of the street saluting us. However, the walk back was the most exciting. All three groups walked back with their heads high and uniforms on, to proudly represent the successes of the city of Fairfield.
As the day went on we moved locations. This is where the field competition took place. The evening went like this: unload the trailers, set up for dinner, down time, get in uniform, warm up, and perform! Wind players, color guard, and percussion all had different warm up times. Typically, color guard and percussion will warm up earlier than the wind players as they use a spot on campus with their instructors. The wind players followed an hour after in which they warmed up doing marching basics and playing with their sections. At every school there are certain spaces allowed for warm ups that have to be shared with all of the schools that are competing. These spots must be far away from the stadium of field performances because any sort of sound would interfere with the groups in competition. So if you think your kids go missing for an hour or two before show time, don’t worry...they’re somewhere working hard!
Eventually every group came together and we rehearsed in musical chunks before heading to the field. The pit crew gathered to help move all equipment to the performance location and before you knew it we were moving to the stadium. If you were in the audience, by 9 o’ clock you saw the cluster of green uniforms near the end zone. As soon as the previous group came off, we went on!
There are many rules associated with timing. When the okay is given, the group can move up to the 0 yard line. If they cross the line before it’s okay to do so, a penalty may be given. However, the show went on smoothly and was a successful first competition. For a performer, the show goes by really fast. They march on and before they know it they’re marching back to our camp ground. Especially for freshmen, they think, “Did I just do that?!”
The kids quickly changed, grabbed a snack, and headed to awards where all the schools are now in their own spirit wear, chanting and singing for their schools. It is a lively atmosphere and you should check it out next time if you missed it! At the end of the night we walked away with 6 trophies for the day, including the Grand Sweepstakes, which is the award for the highest combined street and field score.
Catch us next week as we travel to Loomis, California to compete in the Del Oro Fall Spectacular.
Jackie Wren graduated from RHS in 2015. This is her fourth year as a Drum Major Instructor with us. She is currently a senior at UC Davis graduating in June with a BS in Cell Biology. She sits on the executive board for her professional pre-health sorority and is in pursuit of a career as a Physician Assistant. Her other loves besides guiding RHSEU students to success are attending country music concerts and traveling to new states, discovering unique landmarks while rocking out to Lady Antebellum - her favorite band.