West Ranch takes sweepstakes at Valencia band competition

The Golden Valley High School Band & Color Guard performs at the 8th annual Pride of the Vikings Field Show Tournement at Valencia High School Thursday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

It may take a whole band to put on a show, but it takes a village to run a marching band competition.

Over 80 Valencia High families helped host the eighth annual Pride of the Vikings Field Show Tournament on Thursday. The event marked the final performance for a number of schools before state championships, and for many it marked the last time they’d march on Larry Priesz field.

A total of 18 bands competed at the field tournament Friday, with five local high school bands. Hart High School, which just finished hosting its own Rampage competition, did not take part. At the end of the day, West Ranch took home six of the seven overall sweepstakes categories.

The Canyon High School Gold Star Brigade performs at the 8th annual Pride of the Vikings Field Show Tournement at Valencia High School Thursday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

“To me, band has been a family because of all the friendships I’ve had,” said Lisa Hwang, the Viking’s senior drum major. For the last three years, Hwang has been a member of her school’s band, and said before the performance that Thursday night would be emotional, once the final note was played. “It’s going to be sad.”

Hwang helped set up for the competition, but much of her time this fall semester has been devoted to being a maternal captain for the team, she said. She was proud of how far the young freshmen had come in the last few months.

“I don’t think it’ll hit me ’til it’s over, that this is our last competition here,” said Hwang. “When it’s over, it’s going to be sad because I went through this with my friends in high school.”

Hwang’s fellow drum major, Ryan Sweets, who lays claim to being the only junior to play head drum major in Vikings marching band history, said he had one more year left with his band. But he knows what’s on the line for them this year, with the Vikings currently ranked fourth in the state going into the state championships.

“Marching band is weird because whenever anyone thinks about it, they think of pep band and pep songs, but it’s a performing art,” said Sweets. “You’re expressive; you’re telling a story.”

The Valencia High School Pride of the Vikings performs at the 8th annual Pride of the Vikings Field Show Tournement at Valencia High School Thursday night. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Much like Hwang, Sweets said he was taking time during the final homefield march of the year to see how far the Vikings had come, and where they went to go as the fourth-ranked marching band in the state.

“We start about halfway through the summer, and everyone is on the grind,” said Sweets.

Kelvin Flores, director of instrumental music for the VHS band and color guard, is currently in his first year in the top job. He said that he was proud not only of his kids for coming so far and getting to this point, but that he was happy he had so many families willing to help with the tournament.

“This year we’re kind of keeping the tournament the same (as previous years) because it’s such a great model,” said Flores. “The parents know what to do and it’s a well oiled machine.”

As for the students, he called it “mind blowing” to see how far they had come in only a few months.

“A lot of them come in as freshman and don’t even know how to stand, how to properly step out and march with their instrument while playing,” said Flores. “So now they’re running, doing all this lower body movement while they’re playing and seeing that growth in such a small time frame, three or four months, is mind-blowing.”

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