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Young program shines in second year

The Oregon City High School Marching Band excelled on its second out-of-state competition in two years
by: submitted photo, Junior Cydney Tyler plays her saxophone as the Oregon City Marching Band marches in the Holiday Bowl parade in San Diego on Dec. 27. The band won a host of awards at the event. See story on page A7.

They're baaaack - and they won so many trophies and plaques that they could not carry them all.

The Oregon City High School marching band came away from their late-December swing through San Diego with six trophies and one huge plaque. The band was in Southern California to perform at the Dec. 27 Holiday Bowl, an NCAA postseason game that pitted Arizona State against Texas. The band placed second overall for participation in the Holiday Bowl parade the morning of the game.

The OCHS band and Jets dance team also participated in a multi-school competition held on a high school field in San Diego. The band competed in the 3A division, not because of school population size, but because of band size, band director Bill Bartman said.

Bands with 97 members or more entered the 3A division, and the OCHS band competed against five other schools, Bartman noted.

'Four of the schools [including OCHS] were in the 3A division, and two smaller bands opted to move up to 3A from 2A,' he added.

The most memorable moment for Bartman came at the awards ceremony when winners were announced.

'They announced the third and second places, and the kids cheered for the other bands. Then they announced that the first place band had placed first in all the categories; and then they said Oregon City High School. The kids burst out singing the fight song - talk about school spirit,' Bartman said.

'OCHS has only had a field show marching band for two years and we were the second-largest band competing,' said parent Kimberly Stanchfield, who went along on the trip as a chaperone. 'My daughter, Kristin, who plays the piccolo, made a comment to her dad that 'I hope we don't come in last.'

'This sentiment was echoed by most kids in the OC Band, being so young a band, we just wanted to make a decent showing and learn what to expect next year. To hear your school name called as the overall first-place winner and winner of all caption awards, including best drum major, best drum line, best music selection, best overall appearance and best marching, was to say at the least overwhelming.'

Melanie Erickson, OC band drum major, said that she will never forget the moment the awards were announced.

'They had already gone through all the awards in marching, and now they were on to awards in the field show competition. They had already called the band who placed second in the field show. I didn't think we had much of a chance since that band placed first in marching. I will always remember the announcer saying, 'And in first, taking all of the caption awards... is Oregon City High School!'

'At that point my mouth dropped open and I turned to look at Niko, my fellow drum major, who was just as stunned as I was. We both jumped up and raced down to grab the awards we had just received. I couldn't help but smile the rest of the night. I felt so good, and was so proud of our band for doing as well as they did.'

During the field show, Niko Paris said he could see how focused the band was.

'From a drum major's perspective I could see how everything came together,' he said.

Tim Vergano, a junior who plays French horn in the band, said that he had gone along on the band's trip to Washington D.C. on Memorial Day 2006.

'This was so much more meaningful to me,' he said, adding, 'When we heard we got first place, we screamed then hugged. This is building back up OCHS's reputation.'

Bob Rubitshun, whose daughter Kaitlin plays clarinet in the band, said most of his involvement with the event was 'pre-trip.'

But, he added, 'I've been thinking about our band's accomplishment and recalled an old adage that seems to be appropriate for them: 'Practice doesn't make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.' Our students weren't satisfied with just practicing, they wanted to practice until they got their performance right.'

Bartman summed up the trip by saying he felt good about 'all the support the kids gave each other - we came together as a family. And this is all inclusive - the instrumentalists and the dance team. When we went into the awards ceremony, we knew we had made our best effort.

'When I got back to school, I had a box full of invitations [to other events] - it was a door opener of opportunities. This was a huge stretch for us and it puts us in an exceptional place.'