David Mendez

Redondo Union Sea Hawk Band marches to victory

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rb band.jpg - Redondo Union High School Director of Bands Ray Vizcarra stands with his students immediately following their state championship victory on Sat., Nov. 21. Photo courtesy Perry Okimoto

rb band.jpg – Redondo Union High School Director of Bands Ray Vizcarra stands with his students immediately following their state championship victory on Sat., Nov. 21. Photo courtesy Perry Okimoto

by David Mendez

The Redondo Union High School Sea Hawk Marching Band and Dance Guard was named among California’s top high school marching band on Saturday in the Southern California Judging Association State Championship at Huntington Beach High School.

Their victory draws one to wonder: Who leads the victory parade for a championship-winning marching band?

Two days after his band won the 4A Division State Championship, RUHS Director of Bands Ray Vizcarra said that it’s finally begun to sink in after a day of waking up and wondering if what happened on Saturday was something that he dreamed.

It’s his first state championship as the band director for a school, though he’s come close previously.

This year, however, Redondo Union had “the complete package.”

“Sometimes, shows will have the music, but the visual design isn’t there; sometimes you’ll have great visuals, but the musical performance isn’t up to par. We were pretty well-rounded in all of our efforts though,” he said.

Redondo’s show, “Above and Beyond,” was dedicated to members of the United States Air Force. It was, as Redondo Superintendent Steven Keller called it, “theater” on a football field, telling the story of the loss of an airman who died in battle.

The show’s final movement leaves the audience without resolution, literally. “We deal with the last song, playing Taps along with a four-note theme that we’ve played throughout the show. But we portray a soldier not coming home, so when we play the final theme, we play only four of the five notes — musically speaking, we’re ending on a chord that doesn’t resolve,” Vizcarra said.

The goal now is for the band to become even more competitive, performing against other top bands from Arizona, Nevada, Washington and Oregon in the Western Band Association. “Those groups are very well established and have lots of staff,” Vizcarra said. “We have four people, one of which is a volunteer, whereas some of those schools have 20 to 30 staff techs at minimum.”

To perform at that level requires an even greater amount of funding. Joint efforts of the school and the parent-led band boosters help, but given the amount of funding that goes into a show (professionally designed marching band drill can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000), more cash is always better.

But for now, it’s all about the band being given the opportunity to toot its own horn.

“Hopefully we will get some sort of parade, like they did for the [state champion] volleyball team last year,” Vizcarra said.

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