The Hart Regiment Band and Color Guard once again earned an annual recognition, winning first place for an unprecedented 14th year at Saturday’s 2018 Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association, or SCSBOA, Marching Band Championship at Downey High School.
California is such a large state that it needed to be divided in half for band competition adjudication, according to Hart Band Director Anthony Bailey.
Saturday’s competition was the “state championship” for Southern California, and fielded the top 12 bands from each division, divided by size. Hart took gold in the 4A division.
“This win shows the consistency we have and how it’s rewarded us over the years,” Bailey said. “But what’s more important to me is the quality music education. I want them to be good at their instruments and enjoy the arts. I don’t expect them to all go on to be professional musicians, but what I want them to walk away with is dedication, camaraderie and everything else that goes along with being in band. Music for music’s sake is also OK.”
This year’s show, “Connected,” was inspired by the idea of coming together.
“In the time that we live in, the kids are so connected to their devices, so we wanted to show them that a band is about coming together,” Bailey said. “It’s about learning to play together and communicate as performers. It takes a group to do what we do and that’s what the arts are all about, interacting with one another and communicating art.”
Bailey said that this was a unique year for the band and presented unusual challenges. “Connected” was not the original show that the band was supposed to play this year and after a few tries, Bailey decided that the other show was not a proper fit for the band.
“As we sat with the first show, it didn’t feel like Hart, in that it wasn’t contemporary, didn’t seem to be pushing the activity and that it felt like it had already been done,” Bailey said. “We take pride in our creativity and try to present innovative ideas to the audience… With ‘Connected,’ we were able to present things that were more visually unique
Additionally, this year’s band was comprised largely of freshmen, some of whom only learned how to play an instrument the year before. This meant a slower pace for Bailey, who had to spend more time teaching marching fundamentals, on top of the over 100 pages of music and choreography for this year’s show.
The biggest challenge was getting his band acclimated to the rigors of the sport, from balancing life with the long practice hours to playing in blazing heat or bitter cold, Bailey said.
On a more personal note, this was also the first year that Bailey’s son was in the band.
“It’s been great experiencing everything through his eyes and seeing him learn the activity for the first time,” the proud father said. “He’s been following me and this band around for his entire life, but to finally see him earn his own medal for the first time made me proud as the band director but also as his dad.”
Though the competitive season may be over, the band is not yet done performing, and after a day of rest on Monday, the band will go right back to practice Tuesday. On Nov. 30, the band will perform at Disneyland for a community arts program. Then the band will prepare for its spring semester performances.
“As a musician you want to develop a unique sound so all year long we focus on making sure the kids are proud of their sound,” Bailey said. “Marching bands have a variety of talent and it’s not like a sports team where you start with your best players and sub people in. There’s a place for everyone on the field.”