Sierra Vista High band marches home with top prizes

The trophy room at Sierra Vista High School recently received seven new additions to its display.

The school’s marching band swept the final awards at the Band of America Regional Championship in Flagstaff, Ariz., winning first place and earning trophies for visual performance, music performance and overall effect for their eight-minute show, “H2O.” The win at the competition was the first for a high school band from Nevada.

The regional competition Nov. 3 and 4 featured 24 high school bands from several states including California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada. The Coronado High School Marching Band also competed at regionals and finished 16th.

In addition to winning a visual caption — an award for a marching band and color guard based on the level of difficulty and the degree of perfection — at the preliminary competition, the Sierra Vista marching band finished in first place and also earned an additional trophy for earning the highest possible rating in preliminary competition.

“We literally were surprised,” says Phil Haines, the Sierra Vista band director. “Since we didn’t win all of the captions we knew the competition was close. I couldn’t sleep the night before finals.”

The surprise win in the preliminaries gave the band members a confidence boost and a case of the nerves, but it also made them determined to perform well at finals.

“Once we found out about finishing first in prelims we knew we couldn’t relax for finals,” trumpet player Bryce Smith recalls.

Before the final awards were presented, Haines began to distribute the medals won for visual caption to band members.

“So if they didn’t win they would have something to celebrate,” he says.

Instead, the band’s determination, long hours and hard work were rewarded with the highest payoff at the regional competition.

Band members celebrated on the field with about 80 supporters including family, friends, other students and faculty.

“It was a great thing to share with them,” Haines says. “I told the kids it shows what you can accomplish with hard work. It is something they can carry with them the rest of their lives.”

“It feels really great to do something we worked so hard for,” says sophomore Sabrina Bernstein, who plays the mellophone.

Bryce says the accomplishment would not have been possible without Haines.

“He is such a motivational booster,” says Bryce, a senior. “If we were so tired and stuff he helped get us going.”

Haines, a music director for 22 years, says that in his experience, the Sierra Vista band is “the hardest working group I’ve ever had.”

Junior KC Singer, who plays the baritone, will remember not only the band’s performance but what happened on the field at the awards presentation.

“The band comes out on the field and faces the fans, and just listening to the crowd it brought me near tears,” KC says.

“It was one of the highlights of the last four years of the band,” says senior and saxophone player Christian Walker. “It made it all worth it. We were putting in a lot of hard work.”

Christian, whose college plans include continuing to play the saxophone while studying business, believes the band will be in good shape for next year.

“It looks pretty good. There are a lot of returners, all the juniors are coming back and there are a lot of freshmen,” Christian notes.

“It was the right show with the right band at the right time,” adds Haines, who is looking forward to spending time with his family over the holidays. “It’s been a magical year.”

In other youth news:

* The International Dance Education Academy Youth Company will present “Adventures to Oz” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Summerlin Library and Performing Arts Center, 1771 Inner Circle Drive. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children. For tickets, call 456-4332.

If you know of a worthy candidate for this column, mail information to Youth Spotlight, Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125-0070, or send faxes to 383-4676.

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