CP band continues tradition of greatness

Laura Sirrianni

     If one were to scan across the crowd at a typical Cedar Park High School football game, they would find that one section of the crowd stands out from the rest. Between playing catchy stand tunes, to getting the crowd going, to marching around the field at halftime at an alarmingly fast pace, the Cedar Park High School band is loud, proud and as unstoppable as ever.

     Being energetic is second nature to the band by now; members had to both physically and mentally push themselves during summer band sessions in early August to get a head start on their 2009 field production. With a four hour marching and conditioning block in the morning paired with a four hour music and fundamental block in the afternoon, the band set out on the long road of performances ahead from football games to competitions, with the season concluding in November.

     With all of the long hours and perseverance it takes to be a band member, many other students pose the commonly asked question- why even be in band?

     “I love the family aspect [of band],” Alex Draper, senior drum major, said. “It’s cool to see how such a challenging aspect of marching and playing music can be combined so that people can practice their passion [through music].”

     So far, the band’s hard work has proven to go above and beyond simply marching and playing music. Being crowned the fourth best band in the state of Texas during the 2008 marching season, the band continues to deliver excellent performances with their new show entitled The Many Tales of Scheherazade. The lengthier, five part show is challenging with its quick paced drill,  music showcasing student’s instrumental technique and volume, effectively conveying the show’s theme.

     The Many Tales of Scheherazade, composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, is inspired by the story One Thousand and One Arabian Nights. In the story, the King would marry one woman every night, and proceed to behead her the next day. After going through 3,000 wives, the King takes the woman Scherazade in for the night. She cleverly begins to tell him extravagant stories, yet never finishes in order for the King to keep her alive so she could continue on her stories. The musical interpretation uses a musical interpretation of a variation of stories, just as Scheherazade had told, to highlight the band’s strengths. This show allows big brassy impacts and for many soloists and sections to be featured throughout the production.

     “[Scheherazade] is a well known, big work.” Steve Wessels, head band director said. “It is musically educational and it inspires people.”

     The visual aspect of the show is equally as exciting as the music. Traveling around the field at rapid paces and great lengths, the band works hard to stand out with their basic marching fundamentals to show off their great technique and ability to move at fast tempos, causing the band to stand out from others.

     Standing out is a big deal to the band program, especially in original ways. Throughout the season, members have been encouraged to be “uncommon”, encouraging the students to act as uncommon people by always acting with greatness in everything they do. In their performances, the band proves to be uncommon by sticking to marching with clean technique and playing extraordinary music, instead of using props and other effects as many other bands do to generate effect. Cedar Park is proud of their simpler, less popular approach, that has allowed them to accomplish many great things.

     “[Cedar Park band is different in that] we try to generate our effect through great music,” Bob Chreste, Assistant Band Director said. “[We] play well known, popular music.”

     The band also welcomed in new staff members to guide them on the road to success. Evan Van Doran, assistant band director, started his first year of music education this year at Cedar Park, and has been helping the band achieve success in both the musical and visual aspects of their marching shows. Kaley Sarbacker, color guard director, has also joined the staff to teach the guard fundamentals and show routines to the color guard.

     “[Working with the band] is fantastic,” Van Doren said. “I consider it a privilege to work at a school where not just the band program, but every component of the school works towards being excellent.”

     The Cedar Park drumline, who began preparing for the marching season earlier than the rest of the band in late July, has already set the bar for greatness in the 2009 competition season. The internationally ranked group traveled to the Plano Drumline Contest to compete against other drumlines in the Stand Still competition. Performing their music to Scheherazade, they placed third overall and won Best Tenor Line and Best Cymbal line.

     “I am pretty happy with [the outcome of the Plano contest],” Ben Shaw, senior and center snare said. “It makes me very excited to see how good we can get by the end of the year.”

     The following weekend, the band attended their first competition as a full ensemble at the Bands of America Regional Competition in Houston. Despite poor weather conditions and many illness related absences, the band managed to pull through and take second place overall, as well as winning the music caption in their division.

     “I actually thought we could have done better,” David Jacobson, sophomore said. “However, I was happy with the outcome considering the rain [at the competition].”

     The band did end up doing better the next week at the Westlake Marching Festival on October 10. Although they were competing against fellow state ranked ensembles such as the James Bowie Marching Band and the Vista Ridge Marching band, Cedar Park was able to outperform the rest and take the title of Grand Champions for the second year in a row by a large margin of victory. In addition, the band took captions for Outstanding Music and Outstanding Percussion in preliminary competition.

     “I thought [the band] did awesome, and it was our best performance to date,” Steven Tarmann, junior said. “We could always do better though.”

     Like Shaw and Tarmann, many students are anxious and excited to compete against other marching bands in various competitions, as well as see how much the band progresses and can improve throughout the year. The season will continue throughout the month of October, concluding with the Texas Marching Championship held in Conroe, Texas October 31.