The midday sun beat down on the Valencia High School campus as music floated through the air and young musicians from all over Southern California warmed up in anticipation of their performances at the 10th annual Wildcat Classic marching band competition.
Twenty bands from across Southern California attended the Southern California School Band and Orchestra (SCSBOA) Marching Band Competition hosted by the West Ranch High School band. Among the competitors were the Valencia, Saugus, Golden Valley, and West Ranch High School bands.
“We’ve been planning this event since June and we’re expecting about 4,000 people today,” said Jennifer Adamick, co-chair of the Wildcat Classic. “It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year and we’re hoping to get about $20,000 this year.”
Families of the competing bands sat on the stadium bleachers, some seeking shelter and shade underneath umbrellas, hats or pop-up awnings. Despite the heat and glare of the sun, whenever a new band took to the field with their instruments and props, the audience exploded with a roar of applause.
The bands themselves exhibited showmanship, crafting shapes and visual spectacles on the field with their props and bodies while also playing enchanting melodies that ranged from spanish folk music to jazz to film scores.
“Our main goal and challenge is keeping the spectators happy, so we have our own concession stand, and first aid center,” Adamick said. “We like to keep a cap of up to 25 bands at this competition in order to make things smoother for everyone. One year we had thirty bands competing with two awards ceremonies, and it was too crazy.”
Amanda Critzer, a former marching band competitor, came to the competition to support her niece. She said that though the Wildcat Classic is smaller than some of the marching band competitions she is used to, she appreciated the hospitality and warmth that the competition’s volunteers showed.
“We love having repeat competitors here but we also welcome new faces,” Adamick said. “The Santa Clarita Valley is known for its strong music programs, and we owe that to our great band directors and our dedicated, supportive parents. It takes an army to run some of these programs.”