It started back in summer, in July to be exact, the long, long path to victory for the Bruin Marching Band and Colorguard of Riverbank High School. This past Saturday, all the hard work paid off, with a second place finish for the band, and first place for the colorguard.
After having been dormant for about 10 years, the group was reinstated last summer by band director Joey Aguilar. New uniforms and new instruments attracted a good turnout of musicians willing to begin work in the heat of the summer, in music camp, long before classes began.
During those hot days, Aguilar said they would spend their mornings, in cooler temperatures, working out the formations, then afternoons, in the heat of the day, in the classroom, practicing their music. As it cooled off in the evening, he said, they’d return to the field to put both together.
In addition to all the practice time since then, the groups had the opportunity to hone their skills by performing at the intervening halftime shows at home football games, so supporters were able to witness their progress.
Among the uniqueness in the music department, Aguilar noted, was the fact that this year, “every single student is new to marching band.”
He said they not only had to learn the music, but also to learn to play it while moving about the field.
The Bruin band and colorguard was able last week to perform a dress rehearsal of sorts at halftime of the Friday, Oct. 5 varsity football home game against Escalon. Those in the stands got to watch them present their program and cheer them on as it went.
The next day, they traveled to the Modesto Invitational Marching Band contest held at Johansen High School on Saturday, Oct. 6.
In their division, they were up against schools including Liberty High School and Mountain House. Aguilar explained that there were 10 bands registered for the competition and the 1A class is 60 performers or less which is the category they were in. The bands can range in size from under 60 performers to over 300.
The band came in with second place honors, while the colorguard, out of all the 1A level schools, came in with a first place finish.
Aguilar said he’s hoping this will establish a new, ongoing tradition of a marching band at Riverbank High School. There were 38 students in the band and colorguard for this season.
“This contest was also the end of our marching band season as we will only have one home football game left and that halftime performance will be a different show featuring the guard and cheerleaders and seventh and eighth grade Cardozo band students,” said Aguilar. “Marching Band has been fun and I’m glad we started the program again, but I am ready to focus on concert music for the rest of the year.”
The next competition will be for the colorguard only and is slated for Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Lodi Grape Bowl Parade Band Showcase.
“Congratulations to the band and colorguard,” added Riverbank High School Principal Sean Richey. “What a tremendous success.”
News reporter Virginia Still contributed to this story.