By Raymundo Frasquillo
THATCHER – Sixteen marching bands took the field for competition on a warm Fall day in Thatcher with Morenci leading off the day.
The Pride Band left John T. Mickelson Field with a Superior rating following the conclusion of EAC’s 52nd Band Day on Oct. 14. It was the fourth consecutive superior earned there with the band under the direction of Jared Collins, the third in Class 1A/2A. The Wildcats were also recognized for Outstanding Marching and Outstanding Drum Major during the presentation of awards.
Forty students, eight seniors, 10 juniors, eight sophomores, and 14 freshmen, performed the Pride Band’s ‘Shades of Red’ program. The instrumentation was 12 woodwinds including an alto saxophone, a tenor saxophone, a bass saxophone, five clarinets, and four flutes; 13 brass including eight trumpets, two French horns, a baritone, and two Sousaphones; eight percussion players; and a bass guitar.
The upperclassmen included seniors Ernest Arvizo, Audrey Castillo, Rebekah Diaz, Cheyenne Flores, Matthew McCarthy, Matthew Perry, and Luis Tejada along with juniors Michaela Basteen, Faith Hood, Hope Hood, Emily Lundeen, Ian Kenneth Mottley, Timothy Reyna, and Keegan Smerglia.
The underclassmen were sophomores Reiyna Frank, Brady Friend, A.J. Hudman, Samuel Nabor, Malorie O’Gaffney, Lazaro Palomarez III, and Connor Vaughn plus freshmen Jasmine Altamirano, Nicole Barnett, Jadah Cortez, Israel Bernal-Diaz, Hunter Lindsey, James Munoz, Raelynn Peshlakai, Marco Valle-Ramirez, Samuel Sauls, Katryhana Smerglia, Anghello Tejada, Savanna Titone, Alejandro Valenzuela, and Richard Valenzuela.
Flag line members included seniors Nevaeh Armijo and Rebekah Diaz, juniors Kassandra Gatlin and Kaleigh Verlander, and sophomore Madison Vaughn.
Collins was a 2016 Arizona Rural Schools Greenlee County Teacher of the Year nominee, Juana Verlander directs the color guard for the 12th year, and junior Ruben Valle-Ramirez is the drum major.
Cave Creek Cactus Shadow (Superior with Outstanding Marching), Thatcher (Excellent with Outstanding Music), and Pima (Good) were the other 1A/2A entrants.
Bands competing in Class 3A/4A included Safford (Superior with Outstanding Music, Marching), Buckeye (Excellent, Outstanding Drum Major, Auxillary), Tucson Catalina (Excellent with Outstanding Percussion), Show Low (Excellent), Snowflake (Excellent), Tucson Palo Verde (Excellent), and Holbrook (Good).
The open class had bands from New Mexico schools. Santa Teresa received a Superior with Distinction, Chaparral (Superior with Outstanding Music, Marching, Drum Major), Gadsden (Superior), and Silver (Superior with Outstanding Percussion, Auxiliary), and Cloudcroft (Excellent).
Eastern Arizona College’s band capped the day’s entertainment with selections from video games.
Morenci will be attending the New Mexico State University Tournament of Champions next month and the San Diego-held Holiday Bowl in December.
The 2015 Wildcats also left E.A.C. with Outstanding Music, Percussion, and Drum Major plaques while the 2014 group also had the Auxiliary award. Collins’ first two bands, the 2013 and 2012 were both rated excellent. Morenci ended as 2A state champions in 2011. The 2013 Wildcats were also invited to participate in halftime activities of the Holiday Bowl.