Band kids, face masks, high-stepping

Marching band attends Moorpark competition in midst of fires

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

On Nov. 10, during the Woolsey and Hill fires, the Oak Park Marching Band competed in the Moorpark Battle of the Bands Marching Band Competition, hosted at Moorpark High School.

According to senior and drum major Samantha Heller, there were supposed to be over 30 bands performing at the competition and only about 15 arrived. Each band had the option to attend the competition or not, and after confirmation with the students, band director Zachary Borquez decided to participate in the competition.

“We definitely made the right choice by going to this competition, because it showed how committed the band is. We’ve worked so hard all year long and we didn’t want our season to be cut short after all the effort and work we put in,” senior Arielle Markowicz said.

According to Borquez, there was a possibility that the competition would have been canceled altogether. This could have happened if the air quality was not at safe levels, or if the fires were too close to the school.

“Five a.m on Saturday morning is when Moorpark was going to get the official OK on whether air quality was going to be good enough or not. Ultimately I got word out shortly after 5 a.m that it was a go,” Borquez said. “Everyone was prepared for that — that even though we were ready to do it, if it was canceled obviously we wouldn’t do anything.”

This competition also played a large role in the marching band’s overall season and allowed band members to be alongside their friends during an unfortunate time, according to sophomore and band member Aliyah Wilson. It was their third competition, three being the required amount to qualify for Southern California marching band championships.

“This was our first year ever applying to championships, but we didn’t get a high enough score. Although I was excited to go to championships, I was so proud of our community for coming together to allow us to perform one last time,” Markowicz said.

The marching band placed third in their division and won high percussion. Not all of the band members could come to the competition for various reasons, but many chose to play on.

“Because 10 people could not make it to the competition, the judges took points off for the holes,” sophomore and band member Jeremy Boberg said.

During the time of the competition, the fires were at a safe enough distance that the bands could perform without having to worry about air quality or needing to be evacuated from the school.

“Moorpark was one of the only areas that was completely out of the way of the fire. I believe the nearest it reached to the area was Simi,” Heller said.

Although the fires did not affect the air quality or the vicinity that the band performed at, it still had effects on the band. Some people decided to leave their evacuated areas to perform at the competition.

Even though the marching band were not able to get a high enough score to go to championships, going to this competition meant a lot to many band members, especially the graduating seniors. Despite this and the missing members, the marching band still got a score higher than any other they’ve received in the past.

“I am super proud of the seniors and the whole group, for the whole season. Part of the reason it would have been hard not to go, is how hard everyone had been working leading up to it. It wasn’t an ‘Oh good, we don’t have to do it now,’ it really was an ‘Oh, we had been working so hard for this,’” Borquez said. “I am just super proud of the work from all of them.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Leave a Comment