Written By: Jillian Birt-Russell
Because Newport Harbor’s Davidson Field is under renovation, this year has been difficult for many sports teams who use the field for practice and for events, including the Marching Band. Though they are considered a part of the music department, they are also considered a sport, because they have rigorous practices to prepare for their fall marching season.
They utilize the practice field during their zero period everyday before class but they also have to take a bus every Tuesday evening to practice at Estancia High School, which is Newport Harbor’s home away from home for the season. Every single football game that the band attends is away and they have to bring all of their instruments and equipment along with them. Though this has been a challenge for band and all sports teams alike, it hasn’t broken their drive or spirit to represent Sailor Pride through their performances during football games and competitions.
This year the Marching Band has Senior Drum Majors, Jose Alatorre and Elise Denghausen leading them to victory. Anyone can easily spot these two sporting an all white uniform while raised above the band as they sit in the stands and conduct many of Newport Harbor’s traditional fight songs such as “Go Big Blue,” “Hey,” and “the Alma Mater.” They have also played some more recent and popular songs like “Shut Up and Dance with Me,” sung by Walk the Moon and “Sorry,” originally performed by Justin Bieber to really pump up the crowd.
The Beacon had a chance to interview Alatorre and Denghausen about being Co-Drum Majors and they both agreed that it was a big responsibility. Alatorre says that “the band expects [him] to know most everything and have answers at all times,” and the position has many duties including being “responsible for running practices, rehearsals, and teaching the band members to march and play music.” He knows how important his role is and that he’s “supposed to be a living example of composure for the band members to follow a rigid set of rules” and that he’s “an image of the band” meaning he “must present [himself] in a respectful manner.” Denghausen also believes that being a Co-Drum Major “is more than just conducting.” She’s “in charge of running band camp and teaching marching technique” as well as “conducting during football games and pep rallies.” It’s also their job to make sure that “everything goes smoothly on competition days.”
Denghausen said that her favorite memory was at band camp “seeing all of the crazy costumes the Seniors made the Freshmen wear.” While Alatorre’s favorite memory of the season so far was “the awards ceremony at the Newport Open” where “[they] did a special salute to the winners of the sweepstakes trophy.” Alatorre also remarked that being Co-Drum Major has taught him that, “people can’t read minds, so the directions he gives have to be explicit,” in order for his fellow musicians to understand while practicing. Whereas Denghausen has learned that she wouldn’t have been able to lead the band “on her own and that [she] is so thankful that Jose is drum major with [her].”
At the band’s last competition in Corona, they received fourth place and Denghausen felt proud about it, because the band “went up six points” and “[looked] and [sounded] a lot better than” the week before. Alatorre believes that the score “reflected [their] performance accurately but not [their] potential.” His goal for their next competition at Oceanview High School “is simply to put on a better show, because what [is the band] if not performers.” Denghausen wants the band “to improve as much as [they] can, indivually and as a group.” She says that even though “winning would be nice, it doesn’t matter as much as the experience [one] gets and the things [they] learn from it.” The Newport Harbor Marching Band works extremely hard throughout the entire school year so be sure to go support them at their competitions or at sporting events and school pep assemblies!