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Somerton band and choir strike the right note
The Tierra del Sol Elementary School band and choir took first and second place honors during a competition at Disneyland on Saturday.
After practicing every day after school and at home for the past year, the fourth- and fifth-graders came home with top wins at the Disneyland Music in the Parks Band and Choir Competition in Anaheim, Calif.
Somerton's TDS Sun Dragon Band placed first and received a superior rating in the Upper Middle School/Junior High School Division.
The band also received an award for the “overall best” performance in the middle school/junior high school division.
The TDS Sun Dragon Honor Choir also did well, placing second in the middle school division and receiving a superior rating. The students competed against 16 middle school choirs.
The choir also received recognition as the “overall best” performers in the elementary school division.
Although the students are in their first and second year of musical instruction, they competed against musicians as much as three years older. Because not enough elementary schools were competing, the TDS students chose to compete in the middle school division.
“They were amazing,” said Alicia Mulloy, music director. “It's really special because they're really young students competing against eighth-graders.”
The students were also up against schools with populations of more than 800 students.
The band students competed against five middle schools from Arizona, Texas, Nevada and California
The band includes 65 members who play clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, flutes, baritones and percussion instruments. The choir has 25 singers, both soprano and alto.
The band and choirs received trophies as awards. The honors were well deserved, according to Mulloy.
“It was a lot of hard work. They sacrificed their recesses to practice, and then they would practice at home.”
When the TDS band was announced as the winner, the students were thrilled, Mulloy said.
Vivian Casillas and Victor Lopez, both fifth-graders and clarinet players, said they were surprised to hear the announcement.
“I was very surprised. We were competing against middle schoolers,” Vivian said.
Victor felt surprised that “we were the best” because they vied against more experienced students.
Although they were much younger than most competitors, the students felt prepared. Vivian said she was not nervous during the performance.
“I felt confident and great and ready to perform, confident because I did my best,” she said.
However, the trip wasn't only about competing. The students also had a chance to enjoy the theme park's rides.
Mulloy noted that park workers, judges and bus drivers commented on the kids' good conduct.
“We have the best behaved kids. It's something we pride ourselves on,” she said.
She expressed appreciation to parents and school administrators for their support. In particular, Principal Veronica Lopez and Vice Principal Gema Felix traveled with the band and choir to Disneyland to cheer them on.
Staff writer Mara Knaub can be reached at email@example.com or (928) 539-6856. Find her at Facebook.com/YSMaraKnaub or on Twitter at @YSMaraKnaub.
Somerton's Tierra del Sol Elementary School band and choir members pose for a photo at Valencia High School in Anaheim, Calif. The band won top honors at the Disneyland Music in the Parks Band and Choir Competition on Saturday. The TDS Sun Dragon Band placed first and the honor choir placed second in a competition against older students.
Somerton's Tierra del Sol Elementary School band and choir members pose with their trophies at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. The band won top honors at the Disneyland Music in the Parks Band and Choir Competition on Saturday. The TDS Sun Dragon Band placed first and the honor choir placed second in a competition against older students.