By Allison Rigler and Nick Austin
This past Saturday the Panther Band participated in the Central California Band Review. The marching band performed in the late morning. The week before, the band had enjoyed a week off of practice, but their dedication and grind in the week leading up to Merced paid off. The marching band earned Marching Sweepstakes with a score of 193.0, Showmanship Sweepstakes (270), and Parade Sweepstakes (93.05). Color Guard won third (79.4) among the steep competition. The winning of the Parade Sweepstakes made the Panther Band the defending Sweepstakes champions for two years running.
After a quick turnaround, the Jazz band played their set of Big Dipper by Thad Jones, Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most by Tommy Wolf, and Chips and Salsa by Gerald Albright. Led by Assistant Director Aki Ross, the Jazz band entertained the crowd and the judges, earning them a soloist award for Lead Trombonist Parker Stewart along with The Merced Jazz Sweepstakes that the Jazz Band had set their sights on.
The day was a long one- the Band met at the High School at 8:30 am for the two hour bus ride and they came back around 7:30 pm for dismissal. After the dismissal from a Band Review, the tradition is to go to Nations, where the tired and hungry musicians celebrate the successes of the day. This tradition is so long standing that it existed when Assistant Director Aki Ross was in the program around 2008, and it continues to this day with almost the whole band packing into the small dinner after every band event.