CHS band progress continues

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Roger Wygant is a member of the Clovis High Band Booster Club. His son is in the band.

By Roger Wygant: Guest columnist

The Clovis High School Band continues to collect musical awards as they move indoors for the winter season.

They recently completed a marching band season in which the first competition was the Tumbleweed Classic in Denver City, Texas.

This year the band received class champion and grand champion, and brought home awards for outstanding color guard and outstanding percussion. A week later, it received second place at the Zia Marching Festival in Albuquerque, competing against 29 bands, finishing out of first by less than a point.

The Clovis Wildcat Marching Band has won the Zia Marching Fiesta Competition nine times in the past 29 years, and since 1980, is the only band to make the finals competition every year. The band placed sixth in the famed Tournament of Bands competition held in Las Cruces, where it competed against 31 New Mexico bands as well as bands from El Paso, Texas.

The amount of effort the marching band puts into learning a show is a labor intensive regiment of grueling practice. In addition to learning and playing the music, each student must learn a choreography of movements that can take them from one end of the field to the other in unison.

Beginning early in the summer, a typical practice session can begin at 8 a.m. and most often extends past 8 p.m. These practices are five days a week.

After school starts in the fall, the band has two hours of practice each morning beginning at 7:20 a.m., before the start of the school day.

The band goes over and over the movements that make up a show. When members finish a difficult movement, they literally run back to the start and do it over and over again until they get it perfect. The band’s practice could be compared to a football team practicing their playbook. When the band is competing for fractions of points during competition, a single misstep can mean the difference between first or second place.

Members of the Clovis High School Band were recently selected through a state-wide audition process to attend and perform at the All-State Music Convention being held at the University of New Mexico next month in January.

Participation in the All-State Band presents opportunity and experience for the well prepared, talented high school music student. It also affords these music students motivation for higher achievement in his/her musical education and development. Once they arrive at the convention, they face a week of intensive practice and rehearsal sessions in preparation for the final concert.

Each year, the New Mexico Educators Association chooses one band, choir, and orchestra to represent the state during the NMMEA All-State Convention each January at UNM in Albuquerque. Each spring, bands across the state submit a recording of their band, and those recordings are sent across the country to a panel of directors who then choose the most outstanding group. This year, the Clovis High School Symphonic Band was chosen a record sixth time for this prestigious honor.

Last fall, auditions were held for students to be in the Honor Band, and those students are currently preparing their program for the January concerts. These band members will perform for their peers at the All-State Convention.

In addition, 52 band students from the high School, Marshall and Yucca Middle Schools, and the Freshman Center were selected during recent auditions to represent Clovis Schools at the Southeast District Concert to be held this month in Hobbs.

Those students will travel to Hobbs Dec. 12 for a two-day clinic and concert. The performing bands consist of musicians representing all the schools from the eastern side of New Mexico.

The bands of the Clovis Schools are recognized state-wide for their talent and musical abilities.

The directors and students are dedicated to their art, and it shows in their performances and achievements. This group of musicians has sacrificed hours and hours of personal time to become the best they can be. These fine musicians continue to represent Clovis in a most positive way. The community’s continued support of their activities is most appreciated.

The band will have a concert in Clovis at the Marshall Auditorium 7 p.m. Jan. 6, and it will play in the State Honors concert at Pope Joy Hall at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque Jan. 8. Plan on attending one or all of these performances, and prepare to be amazed and entertained by the very talented musicians of the Clovis Schools.

Roger Wygant is a member of the Clovis High Band Booster Club. His son is in the band.