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Hail to the marching bands, with shout-outs to El Diamante and Clovis West

Once a band person, always a band person. (I refuse to bow to convention and label those of us who appreciate marching bands “geeks.”) At least once a year, I try to catch a marching band competition in the Fresno area — preferably the Western Band Association finals, which gives me a chance to see some of the finest marching bands in the state.

So it was great fun for me yesterday to attend the WBA competition at Central High School’s Koligian Stadium. (Because of rain, the schedule had to be revamped.) The bands I watched were very strong, with many moments of visual and musical beauty. Ayala High School of Chino Hills and James Logan High School of Union City duked it out to a first-place tie in the AAAAA (largest) division — a tie that was later broken in favor of Ayala per the rule book by considering high scores in specific judging categories. Both bands were amazing.

But the heartiest local congratulations go to El Diamante High School Marching Miners of Visalia, which placed first in the AAAA division, beating out a whopping 17 other bands from around the state. What’s more, El Diamante’s score of 90.95 meant it placed third overall among all the bands in the competition, including the bigger-division bands, just behind Ayala and Logan. El Diamante won top scores in its division in General Effect, Visual Effect and Music.

I know firsthand how many hours of hard work go into these shows. The levels of discipline, concentration, athleticism, teamwork and musicianship needed to put together a good looking show are sky high. The fact that high school students are able to put in that brutal rehearsal schedule — and still pull down good grades, as most do — is to be commended, indeed.

The WBA championship was also a chance to see a fun performance from the Fresno State Bulldog Marching Band, which offered a performance as the scores were being compiled:

I’ll get back to other scores in the WBA championship in a moment, but as long as we’re congratulating local bands, here’s another well-deserved nod. The Clovis West High School Band has had an impressive year as well. Clovis West didn’t compete in the WBA finals, but on another competition circuit, it attended two big events: the 2012 Bands of America Glendora Super-Regional on Oct. 27 (it placed fourth overall and first in the AAA class); and the 2012 Bands of America St. George (Utah) Regionals on Nov. 3 (it placed second overall and first in the AAA class). What a travel schedule!

Back to the Fresno competition: Other high-scoring local bands include  Clovis North (third place, AA division), Clovis East (fourth place, AAA division), Clovis (fifth place, AAAA division), and Exeter Union (fifth place, A division). Congrats to all.

Here are the scores for the WBA championships in Fresno from the WBA website:

1 James Logan (1st place tie) 93.40
2 Ayala HS (1st place tie) 93.40
3 Mission Viejo HS 90.25
4 Upland Highland Regiment 89.85
5 Amador Valley HS 88.80
6 Homestead HS 87.95
7 Rowland HS 84.50
8 Grants Pass High School Band & Auxilary 82.20
1 El Diamante Marching Miners 90.95
2 Chino Hills HS Marching Band 90.00
3 Granite Bay Emerald Brigade 89.45
4 Nogales Noble Regiment 86.50
5 Clovis HS 85.70
6 Oak Grove High School Marching Band & guard 85.20
7 Westlake Regiment 84.15
8 Basha High School 83.80
9 Valencia HS Tiger Regiment 83.75
10 Valley Christian High School 83.05
11 Lemoore HS 81.25
12 La Quinta HS 79.45
13 Buchanan HS Band & Colorguard 78.60
14 Los Gatos HS Wildcat Marching Band & Guard 78.15
15 La Canada 78.10
16 Casa Grande 76.25
17 Bullard HS 74.45
18 Tulare Union Redskin Band & Colorguard 71.55
1 Trabuco Hills HS Thundering Mustangs 90.40
2 Rancho Cucamonga Marching Cougars 90.25
3 Los Alamitos HS Marching Band 89.90
4 Clovis East 84.65
5 Branham HS Royal Alliance 84.60
6 Chandler HS 84.20
7 Beyer HS 83.30
8 S. Pasadena HS Tiger Marching Band & Guard 80.25
9 Tulare Western 77.70
10 Torrance HS Tartar Band & Guard 76.25
11 Sanger HS 73.60
12 Edison High School Tiger Marching Band & Colorguard 73.50
13 Arroyo Grande Eagles Marching Band and Colorguard 67.05
1 Live Oak Emerald Regime Band & Guard 87.65
2 Perry HS 87.35
3 Clovis North 86.95
4 Madera HS Marching Band & Guard 83.05
5 El Modena Vanguard 82.85
6 Los Altos HS Eagle Marching Band & Guard 81.05
7 Laguna Hills High School Marching Band and Colorguard 80.55
8 Adolfo Camarillo 78.70
9 Pacifica Mariner Band 78.70
10 Madera South HS Stallion Band 75.60
11 Kingsburg High School 73.45
12 James Enochs HS 72.30
13 Selma High School Black Bear Brigade 72.25
14 Golden West HS 71.60
15 Hanford HS Marching Band 71.25
16 Mt. Whitney Pioneer Marching Band 66.00
17 Mission Oak HS 65.35
18 Alhambra HS 60.15


1 Damien High School Spartan Regiment 78.90
2 Peninsula High School 77.35
3 The Kings Academy HS 71.45
4 Independence 76th Cavalry Band & Color Guard 70.35
5 Exeter Union 70.05
6 Modesto HS 70.00
7 Mater Dei HS Monarch Pagentry Corps 68.65
8 Ceres High School Marching Band 67.75
9 Los Banos HS 65.20
10 Chaminade HS 64.15
11 Santa Margarita HS 63.90
12 Thomas Downey HS 60.30

Responses to "Hail to the marching bands, with shout-outs to El Diamante and Clovis West"

Nick Haas says:

I really appreciate this article. Marching Band and Color Guard are often two performing arts/sports that dont often get the love that these very hard working young students deserve. Kudos to all the local High Schools that placed! (let’s get better Bullard! ;) )

Evette D says:

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! for this wonderful article. As a proud El Diamante color guard parent, it means a lot!!

Cristobal says:

Thirded! Thanks for keeping us up on local high school band tidings!

Yvonne says:

It really is true-once a bando (yes, that’s the new term) always a bando ! My husband and I were both involved as teens and had the pleasure of watching and supporting our two kids in band. The true dedication of the students and the faculty is tremendous and to read your article about it -heartwarming! Thanks!

Donald Munro says:

“Bando,” eh? I like it. Thanks for keeping me up on the lingo.

John Tucker says:

Thanks you for your enthusiastic article. As a former president of the Lincoln HS Trojan Band’s boosters (Stockton) and having two children that spent 4 years each in the program I appreciate all of the work by the students, staff and parents. Congratulations to all!
Such good wholesome fun for all. It is a great way to spend a Saturday.

Mike Mays says:

Thanks for this great recap. I agree that once a bando (love the new term!) always a bando. I’ve been away from the Central Valley for many years, but still love the pageantry and competition of the field. I live in Texas now, and still catch a show or two each season. Glad to see marching band is still strong in the Central Valley!

Matomatic says:

With a little more homework you would have found that the best marching band in Northern California is in Merced. The Golden Valley Cardinal Regime went undefeated in parade competition for 6+ years. That is quite an undefeated winning streak. This year, with a new director, their sweepstakes streak was broken in their first event in Antioch. However, they bounced back to start a new streak by winning sweepstakes at Cupertino and Santa Cruz. In addition, recently they’ve been in the Rose Parade (2009)and this Sunday will march in the Hollywood Christmas parade.

Tom says:

Congrats to Merced. Although calling them the best marching band in CA is not understanding what the activity involves. Marching Band is an umbrella term that includes bands that just perform at halftime of football games, bands that perform at parades, and bands that compete in field show competitions. Sometimes bands will do several or all of these things. With the field show competitions, there are circuits that have very advanced bands and circuits that have more of a beginning to intermediate level of bands. Merced may have done well at parades over the past several years, however the more advanced and sophisticated programs around the nation rarely perform in parades except for their own local Christmas or Veterans type parades. Instead these bands spend the bulk of their marching band season performing in field show competitions. The WBA circuit and the BOA circuit are the two circuits that the advanced bands in the state compete in with all other circuits being for beginning to intermediate programs. All of this brieng said, congrats go out to every music student and music teacher/instructor in the state. The countless hours they spend perfecting their art should be commended no matter what level they perform at.

Donald Munro says:

Thanks for adding your perspective, Tom. When I was in high school, my band was strictly a parade band, and I loved it. But one of the things I looked forward to in college band was getting the chance to march in field shows. I know that the different styles of bands and the different competition circuits can confuse people who aren’t familiar with the intricacies of high-school marching competitions. Your explanation can make things clearer. I’m with you: Merced has a lot to be proud of.

[...] Read more about the competition and read more about the competition on Donald Munro’s Beehive blog. [...]

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