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Yuma band exhibition a success
The bleachers at the Cibola High School football field were filled with eager spectators who turned out to watch four local high school varsity marching bands put on their field shows Saturday night.
The first ever Yuma Marching Band Exhibition included bands from Kofa High School, Gila Ridge High School, Cibola High School and Yuma High School.
The event was non-competitive, and was intended to allow local student musicians to show off their skills, and watch what other bands had to offer.
The evening began with Kofa High, who marched onto the field in crimson and white uniforms as the sun set in the western sky, turning the horizon into a mesmerizing backdrop of purples, pinks and blues.
Each bands took their turns, and with every well executed solo, the audience erupted with applause.
Event organizer Dean Moore, the band director for Cibola, said the show may owe its existence to a poor economy.
"With the budget cuts we didn't have as many performance opportunities as we have had in the past, so we decided to do one here. We usually don’t do this here because we are not allowed to judge. Judging has to be officially approved by the state, and we just don't have the resources to do that."
Moore said even though there was no official judging, constructive criticism was offered by professional musicians and teachers who watched the show.
"We are critiquing but not scoring," said Brian Evans, assistant director for Kofa High School.
"Part of the reason we do this is to give people an opportunity to show what they do well. Every single one of these kids dedicates a lot of their time to band. They work hard and are passionate about it. They bust their butts just like any of the sports teams in town, and this gives them a chance to really show what they can do and be proud of themselves."
John Dallabetta, Gila Ridge band director, said he would like the Yuma community to appreciate all of the effort the students exert to learn the marching routines.
"This is a good idea, and I think it is a good start. There is a lot of hard work every one of these kids put into this, that I don’t think the public every really sees. It really is a shame because these kids put their hearts into these programs and are really under appreciated. I'm very proud of my kids."
Jessie Schattin, Kofa band director, said his students enjoyed playing for the other schools.
"This is a great opportunity for the kids to show up and play. It's great for all the kids to see each other’s shows in a non-competitive format. I am ecstatic about doing this again next year, and I hope it sticks around for a long time."
Leo Baca is a sophomore tenor drum player at Kofa, and said he approves the exhibition.
"This was fun. It was pretty cool seeing everyone else doing what they do. I watched the other drum lines and I saw a couple of visuals that I liked. I think we did awesome."
Eddie Medina, is a senior at Kofa and plays the baritone horn. He performed a solo during the show.
"It feels good when I am out there soloing, and I don’t get nervous. It is as good as it gets."
William Rundle, also a sophomore at Kofa, agrees.
"The show was great, and playing in front of an audience made me feel warm inside. I feel confident now, and when we go to another competition we are going to blow down the house."
Amanda Dallabetta, Yuma High band director, said her students were fired up, and ready for out of town competitions.
"My kids were so energized, and they said they were so excited and nervous. This is a good way to break the ice before the festivals. This gives them experience, and by playing in front of an audience that knows what is going on makes a big difference. I think (my students) did great today. They worked really hard and it paid off."
Moore said the exhibition may become an annual event.
"We had a great turnout tonight, and everyone was really amazed. We really like doing this and will begin talking about doing it again next year. This has been a great success and I’m very happy about it. I appreciate everyone coming out to see live school music in Yuma."
Chris McDaniel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6849.