GEMR revels in camaraderie through music

GEMR revels in camaraderie through music

   Waiting for their cue to take the field, there is almost complete silence. When the cue is given, the silence explodes with music as the marching regiment takes the field and begins their show. For these students, there is nothing more electrifying than the competitions and the friendships they have built up through months of practice and smaller performances.

   While known by students for their expressive music and marching performances at sporting events and rallies, the Gabrielino Eagles Marching Regiment also takes part in five competitions, traveling around Southern California to compete against other schools to earn a spot at the coveted Southern California School Band & Orchestra Association (SCSBOA) field championship show. 

   Marching band director Melissa Romero noted, “Typically, the first week of school we have some sort of performance, whether we’re going to an away game or having a home football game. I always set the goal that we present a complete show at our first competition.” 

   The regiment is able to thrive through their closeness which keeps the band together and in sync, even throughout the days leading up to competitions that spur nervousness or anxieties about performing.

   For many, their first field show ever was during the first competition of the year, at Downey High School on Oct. 8. 

   “Lately, the band has been feeling better about the competitions. I try to remind everyone during rehearsals of the competition, and help them feel better about it because of the time crunch we’re on,” explained senior and drum major Liam Dowell. “Once you get going on the field, you don’t have time to be nervous, you just have to know everything by heart.” 

   Before students are able to start performing, however, they begin practice during August at band camp, where students learn the fundamentals of the sport before preparing for the actual competition. Leading up to their performances, the regiment spends hours every day tirelessly learning completely new music and marching or color guard routines. 

   To learn the rhythm and movement for the four songs included in this year’s field show, students are pushed to their limits. As a team sport, the students are able to make close friends and connect with each other through all of this. 

   “It’s not an overstatement when I say that marching band is very exhausting and tiring. Because we have long hours of practice, I would say it takes quite a bit of mental strength,” junior Joshua Soohoo, who leads the brass section, said with laughter. “If you gave everything you had for one rep, and you feel you can’t go on again after that, you just have to catch your breath and do it again, fixing the mistakes you made in the previous one.”

   Being pushed to their limits has allowed the regiment to revel in their accomplishments, creating a sense of solidarity within the band. Through this solidarity their progress shines, ensuring everything runs smoothly for their field show as the band works in unity. 

   “I feel like students don’t always know what they’re getting into with marching band,” chuckled Romero. “Regardless of what they were expecting, they definitely enjoy the sense of closeness and family in the band.”

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