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Jurupa Marches On


Jurupa Valley High saxophone playersAfter a year without football games, parades, and competitions, high school band students are excited and determined to have an excellent marching season. 

“It’s amazing. You know, seeing our bandmates who we haven’t seen for a year and some months,” shared Kanye, a junior trumpet player at Jurupa Valley High School. “It’s just an excellent experience to meet up with everyone [and] have fun with music together.”

Returning students often reference the friendships they have cultivated over their years in marching band, relationships that are strengthened by sharing a classroom or a football field, rather than performing in isolation in front of a screen. Not only that, but matching rhythms and relying on other students for guidance is much easier in person, resulting in smoother performances. 

Rubidoux band class“On Zoom, it’s impossible to play in an ensemble setting,” explained Sarah Choi, Rubidoux High School's instrumental music director. On the first day of band camp, Ms. Choi had her students play Rubidoux’s fight song. Though their first attempt was far from perfect, witnessing the students play together was a powerful reminder of the impact of music performance. “It just reminded me of the reason why we go through all of this, and why the kids work so hard, and why I work so hard,” she shared. “What [students] gain from participating in marching band is that there are no benchwarmers. Every single kid on that field matters.”

Marching band is not merely a one-class-period commitment. Students also attend after-school rehearsals multiple times a week to prepare for performances and competitions. Because of the physicality involved, participation fulfills a physical education requirement. 

“It is not just a bunch of goofy people making fools of themselves on the field,” said Tony Mendoza, a senior mellophone player at Patriot High School. 

The Patriot Cardinal Regiment
“Participating in marching band has taught me many things such as responsibility, about being on time, and fulfilling a good leadership role,” added Sarah, a senior Drum Major at RHS.

Performing at football games makes up a large part of marching season. On August 27th, during the preseason rivalry game between Patriot and Rubidoux, the Patriot Cardinal Regiment played music in the stands. Their energy was infectious. “The marching band this year is looking stronger and powerful as always,” shared Chris Case, PHS band director. “They are elevating themselves as they return to the powerhouse of Southern California that they have been and continue to be.”

Though excellence is the ultimate goal, early-season priorities include teaching fundamentals to new students and helping everyone relearn what it means to be a team.

The Patriot Cardinal Regiment leaving the field“Two of the classes haven’t been on campus, so they are joining this group with two other classes that have been here,” said Mike Alvarez, JVHS band director. “It’s a unique opportunity for the upperclassmen to mentor the younger students, even including the sophomore class.”

Playing an instrument is not like riding a bike, so returning to marching band after a year off is no easy feat. JUSD band directors recognize and admire the dedication of their students.

“What makes these kids so incredible is that they stuck through the worst parts of it,” said Ms. Choi, referring to the challenges of virtual learning. “They’re amazing and I have so much respect for them.”