LA PUENTE - It's busy season for the Nogales High School Noble Regiment Band.

For the past month, the 120-member group has competed in a statewide competition and performed as the pep band for a televised NCAA basketball tournament, and they did it all while maintaining practices and performing at school football games.

The band took second place out of 19 teams in the California State Band Championships Nov. 21, and performed at the 76 Classic basketball tournament at the Anaheim Convention Center Nov. 29.

"It's just a neat experience for the kids," Band Director Brad Pollock said of the 76 Classic. "It's something different than the usual routine every year."

Pollack gave his students the

Kris Baltazar,17, of La Puente plays the snare drum as The Nogales High School Noble Regiment Band under the direction of Brad Pollock performs as the pep band at the NCAA Basketball Tournament, The 76 Classic at the Anaheim Convention Center, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009. (SGVN/Staff Photo by Eric Reed/HIGH)
choice to participate in the event this year - and they all supported the extra endeavor despite their busy schedules.

"In the end, it's all worth it," said snare drum player Esteban Guillen. "It was definitely a great experience going out of my senior year."

The team also will compete against 12 bands in its division, including Rowland High, during a tournament in San Diego on Saturday.

"This is definitely going to be a challenge, because we took a week off (due to Thanksgiving break)," Pollack said. "We're also the

smallest band in this division, but we can handle it at this level."

Pollack said his students are very dedicated and he runs a tight ship at Nogales High.

"We're trying to raise these kids to be successful," said Pollack, who has been at the high school for 10 years. "Everyone comes from different backgrounds and this gives them a family away from their


The band director said a dedicated group of parents work to provide students in the program with what they need. He said hundreds of thousands of dollars are raised through fundraisers, including the weekly swap meets on the La Puente campus.

"We don't stop (fundraising) because we want to give the kids everything that even the richer schools have," he said.

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