And the Band Played On … To Victory

A tough year of competition for Crescenta Valley High School marching band and color guard paid off as they earned the highest scores in school history.

Photo courtesy of Kimberlee SANDOVAL
Members of the CV High School marching band and color guard hold the plaque recognizing their achievement of placing fifth in the state finals.

By Sabrina SHELTON

The Crescenta Valley High School marching band and color guard had an eventful competition season this year, finishing fourth in 5A Division and fifth place in state finals in November earning a score of 89.3. This is the highest score in CVHS history. The percussion team also found success by placing third behind Gahr High School and Woodbridge High School. The nine-person color guard auxilliary team also achieved its highest score on record by placing third in state.

“This year has been a challenging year with a lot of ups and downs,” said Kim Sandoval, president of the Crescenta Valley Instrumental Music Foundation. “[We] started off the season as tournament champions with additional recognitions … But as the season went on, the competition was fierce.”

This year provided more challenges as other schools shifted into the same division as CVHS. These were schools that CV had not previously competed against and were unfamiliar with. 

“They are all highly competitive, very skilled schools and all have very dedicated musicians,” Sandoval said.

The title of CV’s show this year was “One Small Step,” reflecting on the space race between the United States and Russia. This eventually led the United States to launch Saturn IV to the moon, which also sent a message of perseverance.

This was the first story-driven show CV has done in a while. The show included extensive historical Kennedy sound bites and CV teachers and administrators were utilized as mission control voiceovers in the opening “explosion” sequence.

“It was a very moving story that brought many audience members to emotional tears,” recalled Sandoval. “Many of the judges were choked up by the performance as well.”

The props used were also a challenge for CV and included a rocket launch, fog effects, a light sequence for the launch and the American flag. Due to the huge undertaking of its show, the team had parent and alumni involvement with props. Quite the logistical feat, considering the band has 113 members.

By the time semi-finals came around, CVHS was fighting to stay in competition. Starting in 10th place overall, only the top nine bands in the division moved on to finals. CV placed sixth out of 16 bands, and was allowed to compete in the finals. At finals, held at Huntington Beach High School, the members were competing against 28 other bands. The CVHS performance was so strong that it earned a spot to perform that evening in the state championship.

“This was an amazing year for so many reasons [including] the dedication of the students, coaches and band director Mathew Schick, who put in countless hours of practice before school, after school and weekends to make this show [come to life],” Sandoval said.

Sandoval also applauded the level of parent involvement that involved designing and building the props, transporting the enormous rocket launch pad, and driving and chaperoning football performances or competitions. She also praised the fans – the parents, grandparents, neighbors and community – who traveled to watch the marching band and color guard perform.

For those who would like to hear the music one last time, the Winter Concert is on Friday, Dec. 13 at the CVHS MacDonald Auditorium in the 4300 block of Ramsdell Avenue in La Crescenta.

The marching band is still raising funds to replace members’ 20-year-old uniforms that are fatigued and falling apart. Donations can be made to

Crescenta Valley Instrumental Music Foundation (CVIM Foundation) and mailed to P.O. Box 582, Verdugo City 91046.