By Mary O’KEEFE
Luckily for the Crescenta Valley High School band, what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.
The band brought back a myriad of awards after their Las Vegas festival weekend trip.
“We took 99 students with us, along with eight chaperones and myself,” said band director Mathew Schick.
The jazz, orchestra and concert band competed in the Heritage Festival of Music in Las Vegas last weekend. Before they competed, the musicians performed at the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy.
“I have a colleague that teaches there. We played for about 150 kids,” Schick said.
The academy was founded by tennis star/athlete Andre Agassi in 2001 as a charter school that educates students from kindergarten to 12th grade. The school is located in an “at risk” neighborhood.
Schick said it was a great experience for his students not only to play for the student audience, but also to see another school that does not offer the opportunities available at CVHS.
After the warm up performance on Thursday, the band then shined at the festival.
“We (jazz, concert and orchestra) were awarded the highest scores and the best program overall,” Schick said.
The symphony orchestra, jazz and concert bands won Sweepstakes awards, including a Sweepstakes Award for its overall school performance.
The band also received a gold rating and have been invited to play at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. next year, according to the band’s website.
Three students were singled out with each winning the Maestro Award. Chris Cho plays cello, John Chu is a pianist and John Meyers tackles tenor saxophone.
It wasn’t all competition over the weekend; the students did get to take in some of the Nevada tourist sights.
“We all went to see the Blue Man Group,” Schick added. “[There’s a] medieval times show called Tournament of Kings and we went to Hoover Dam.”
The success of the festival just added to a “very good year” according to Schick.
The band, symphony orchestra and jazz have been successful in many other festivals as well winning a ranking of superior, which allows them to be invited to the regional competition.
“[For the first time], our wind ensemble got ‘superior’ this year,” Schick said.
Next month they have another festival in Santa Barbara.
Crescenta Valley residents can experience this award winning band on Saturday night at the Spring Fling swing dance at CVHS cafeteria from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, which includes dessert, and kids are free to enter with $5 for dessert.
With many band programs being cancelled due to budget concerns, the CVHS band is going strong due in part to donations from parents and the community. For those who would like to help keep the music playing, donations can be made by sending a check to CVIM (Crescenta Valley Instrumental Music) or by visiting the website at www.falconmusic.org.