Nogales High School's band takes state championship
LA PUENTE - Community members are calling the Nogales High School Noble Regiment the little band that could after it pulled out an unexpected win last weekend.
The regiment on Dec. 4 took first place in its division of the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association Field Championship, beating out 11 others much larger in size.
While the regiment has 115 students, its competitors had at least 180 members, according to band director Brad Pollack.
"It's about playing within our means and within our size, Pollack said. "It's about our work ethic and show concept and philosophy."
The group also took home top prizes for its color guard, drum line and in the visual category.
The school held a celebration Wednesday for the award-winning band during the lunchtime break on the La Puente campus. Students held up a plaque recognizing their victory as student band leaders congratulated their peers.
Alejandra Del Muro, 17, said she was proud of the band's accomplishments and encouraged the freshman students to keep up its reputation.
This is the second time in four years the group took first place in a state competition. It also won top honors in the 2006 Western Band Association's state championship.
"There's so many emotions," Del Muro, a senior who plays the saxophone, said after the ceremony. "I'm happy, excited and sad that I'm leaving. But it's a great way to end the season."
The program teaches students discipline, said Rick Alfaro, whose daughter Deanna is in the band.
It takes a lot of hard work, he said. Students practices for at least 12 hours a week.
"I come to the practices, but I don't know how they do it," Alfaro said.
In addition, he said the students are afforded a lot of opportunities despite the socioeconomic background of many of the high school's families.
According to Pollack, the band program brings in about $150,000 a year from swap meets it runs three times a month.
The majority of the money pays for staff that specialize in various areas of the regiment, including one that writes its original music.
Next, the band will travel to Arizona to participate in Fiesta Bowl Band Championship on Dec. 30. They are one of only 13 bands across the country to participate, officials said.
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