Marching To Victory at Tesoro Field Tournament


Courtesy of Desmond Stevens

The marching band gets their final words of encouragement from teacher Desmond Stevens before embarking on their field show at the Tesoro Marching Band Field Tournament

Shawyan Rooein, Backpage Editor

In its first field tournament of the year, the Pride of Portola (marching band and color guard) competed at the Tesoro High Field Tournament on Oct.6. Scoring first in division 3A. With a unique theme each year, this year’s was competition was themed “Go West” in which the band played three different songs: “Go West,” “Wanted Dead or Alive” and “Hoe Down.”

“I think we definitely showed a strong version of us today, but we can always improve,” sophomore and mellophone section leader Rishav Sen said. “There’s always musical and technical aspects that need work, and we’re always willing to add more and show more of what we got.”

Approaching the tournament date, the group practiced for weeks both inside of school and out including morning practices before official school start times. Normally, they would practice at least three times a week, but they included more practices as the competition drew nearer.

In addition to the practices they had during school hours, sections would gather and practice their unique parts and help each other grasp both the music and technical aspects of the performance during office hours and other available times to collaborate. In addition to the improvement the group has made over the last few years, the increase in members played a key role their growth.

“We first want to grow our numbers and get more students involved in marching band and colorguard,” VAPA teacher Desmond Stevens said. “With that, we also want to provide different, new experiences for those members, things like traveling to Disneyland and playing [there].”

Only starting with about twenty members in the opening year of the school, the group has grown significantly both in skill and numbers, with over 100 members this year including the color guard.

“I am so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish over the past two years,” junior and drum major Stephanie Tang said. “I remember in ninth grade we had like 25 people, could not even march onto a field, and would play a couple songs. Now we have a full-blown field show, and we’ve come so far so quickly, and I know we’re going to be better in the future years.”

As its numbers grow, the marching band will be able to enhance its music and deliver an overall stronger performance. In the process of gaining this experience, they see themselves becoming a tough competitor against larger schools like Northwood High.

“I think last year was definitely a stepping stone, but we’re making some fabulous progress here, and we’re constantly growing,” Sen said. “We’re not showing any signs of stopping.