Marching Band at regional championships

OP Eagle Brigade makes history


Daisy Calderon/Talon

Oak Park Eagles Brigade poses outside of Warren High School during the 2A/5A competition for bands.

After months of hard work, band camp, and nonstop practice, the Eagle Brigade qualified for the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association regional championships for the first time.

The SCSBOA holds competitions for marching bands all over Southern California. This competition consists of the divisions 1A-6A (this year, the 6A division was too small, so it was merged with 5A). The teams with the smallest marching band team are entered into the 1A division and the largest teams are entered into the 5A. Out of these divisions, the Eagle Brigade was a part of the 2A division, competing against the other 24 teams that applied for qualifications. In order to qualify for the championships, the SCSBOA takes each marching band’s top two scores of the season, weighs it against other teams, and selects the top 12 bands. This year, the site for the 2A/5A competition was Warren High School.

Sophomore Max Raney serves as the mellophone (a three-valved brass instrument) section leader in the Eagle Brigade.

“The top twelve bands from each division qualify,” Raney said. “And we ended up 11th in our 2A division.”

It has long been the goal of the marching band team to make it to championships, and with motivated students putting in hours and hours practicing, that goal has finally been achieved.

“The band is a lot like a whole family,” junior Alex Kaufmann, who plays the baritone and clarinet, said. “It’s really a group effort. There’s no individual who shines.”

The OPHS Color guard is an addition to the marching band and provides for the visual score.

Sophomore Ruby Pokras has been a dedicated member of the Color guard ever since eighth grade.

“I joined color guard in 8th grade simply because it sounded so foreign to me,” Pokras said. “I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.”

OPHS band teacher Zachary Borquez has expressed his pride in the band’s improvement throughout the school year.

“I’m very proud of the students,” Borquez said. “I can’t even begin to count the hours we worked on this. We started planning for this show back in April last year and started band camp on July 22nd, which was 8-9 hours a day for two weeks straight. Once the school year started, we practiced 9-10 hours a week.”

According to Borquez, the marching band will compete again next year. Sophomore and alto saxophone player Aita Sharifi was a new member of the Eagle Brigade this year and will be returning for the 2020-2021 season.

“Being a part of all of this was so much fun for me, and every practice was hard work but extremely worth it,” Sharifi said. “I have made so many awesome memories and I can’t wait for next year to see how much more we can accomplish!”