CVHS Falcon Marching Band Soars to Championships

By Julian MITCHELL, intern

The Crescenta Valley High School marching band earned a spot in the California State Band Championships for the second year in a row.

The Falcons will be headed to Huntington Beach High School this Saturday to compete, where instrumental music director Mathew Schick hopes to focus on consistency.

“I don’t want [the kids] to approach this like a new thing,” said Schick. “I don’t want them to try to be super heroes.”

Last Saturday, the CVHS marching band competed in the semifinals where it was ranked third overall, receiving its highest score since the 2015 competition year.

The competitions are broken up into six components: music performance; visual performance; music effect; visual effect; percussion; and color guard. In the semifinals, the Falcons were ranked first for their music performance and percussion, even scoring higher than many of the schools in the division above CVHS.

“We’re up there, we can do very well,” said Schick.

Schick hopes to improve in the visual categories, finding that the band seems to have the most trouble in this area due to circumstances that are pretty much out of his control. The band is only allotted roughly four hours of field time per week to coordinate its on-field movements, while other bands competing at similar levels are given five to six hours weekly. Schick said that because of the great sports environment and community at CVHS, it is hard for all programs to get time on the field.

“Many music directors don’t have great relationships with the sports coaches, but I’m fortunate,” said Schick. “The football coaches and I get along well.”

Although Schick hopes their visual performance will step up through working “smarter,” he knows that their music components will always be successful due to how much practice time they do get for music.

The CVHS music program focuses on marching band in the first semester of school, playing at football games, competitions and community events, like the Montrose Christmas Parade. The second semester, though, is dedicated to concert band, focusing on playing traditional orchestral pieces.

“We do well musically because of our focus in the second semester,” said Schick.

The Falcons have received first place points in percussion for each of their four competitions this year, additionally receiving first place points in most competitions for their music effect and music performance.

Effect categories focus more on the creative aspects that the band brings to competition, while performance focuses on the technical aspects.

CVHS will not be the only local school competing this Saturday; it will be joined by Herbert Hoover High School, which compete in the 4A category, one category below CVHS.

CVHS and Hoover have a “very friendly rivalry,” according to Schick. For the last few years at every football game between the two, both bands will come together and perform their competitive routines. This year, the meeting wasn’t held as a result of the homecoming football game’s cancellation.

“It was very disappointing that we couldn’t socialize or share our music,” said Schick.

Next year, Schick hopes to be able to re-unite with Hoover and also bring in other schools’ music programs to perform a huge ensemble version of the national anthem before a football game.

As for this Saturday, Schick feels his band is prepared and will hopefully be able to come in first place.

“We have to be consistent and steady,” said Schick.

For tickets and additional information, visit the California State Band Championships webpage at Huntington Beach High School is located at 1905 Main St., Huntington Beach and events will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17.