Marching bands and color guards alike marched forward after months of work, in uniform and playing their shining instruments, last week to compete in Valencia High School’s RAGNARÖK. West Ranch High School concluded the day by taking home the sweepstakes award.
RAGNARÖK is the battle of the bands competition that bands and colorguards come to as a chance to compete for a qualifying spot at championships. The theme and name are “a tip of the hat” to the Norse mythology’s Ragnarök (the end of the world) as well as to Valencia’s mascot the Vikings.
“We felt that the dramatic name was fitting for a battle of the bands competition,” said Kevin Flores, director of instrumental music at Valencia.
Finally getting the programs to be able to perform their pieces at Valencia was a nine-month-long process, taking hundreds of collective hours and the work of many Valencia community members.
This competition plays its role as such, but also serves as a fundraiser for Valencia’s program to keep it alive and thriving. All proceeds from RAGNARÖK went toward the Valencia High School Band and Color Guard program.
Valencia High School was unable to compete under one of the four divisions due to the school hosting the competition, but the Vikings still performed their 2022 piece, “The Raven.”
“The Raven” was based off of the poem, with the same name, by Edgar Allan Poe.
“The audience is taken into the narrator’s chamber as we follow his mental state while he longs for his lost love, Lenore,” said Jeff Hagkull, communication director for Pride of the Vikings.
Every detail of the poem was taken into consideration, from the color representation of the flags to the music changes.
“The dissonance of the ending of our third movement resonates with me the most regarding the madness we feel as we live through the inability to forget a lost loved one,” said Adani Ahmad, drum major for Valencia. “However, performing our show taught me to not lose myself as he did during the progress.”
The local high schools that competed in the competition were: Castaic High School Marching Band and Colorguard, Golden Valley High School Marching Band, Canyon High School Gold Star Brigade, Saugus Marching Centurions and West Ranch Wildcat Marching Band. A total of 15 bands competed.
Castaic High School placed first in Division 1A. In division 2A, Golden Valley placed second and Canyon placed fourth. Saugus placed first in Division 4A. West Ranch won first place in division 5A and took home the sweepstakes with their field show, “Reflections.”
The band took sweepstakes in music performance, music effect, visual effect, visual performance, color guard and overall band.
“This weekend was a huge achievement for our program,” said Kevin Alterman, band teacher of Golden Valley. “We’ve been working hard since August to get our show up to a competitive level and this weekend was our last shot to score high enough to qualify for championships.”
Golden Valley achieved its goal and qualified for championships.
Many of the local bands and color guards are set to compete in the 2022 Southern California School Band & Orchestra Association Championships on Saturday.