First and foremost, this article/opinion/review is going to get strong criticism from certain people and organizations, but it must not be left to rest as it was an observation, I made on the day of the High School Band Showcase and the days following. If you attended the Showcase and felt uneasy or upset as you left, you were not alone.
For the past 20 years or so an incredible event has been organized and displayed at Central Union High School in El Centro. It is an opportunity for the local marching bands of the Imperial Valley to showcase their hard work and practice they have endured since the middle of August. They perform at their home football games to perfect their show. Some schools, like Imperial High School and Calexico High School, even take their show on the road for various competitions in San Diego and Los Angeles counties. They often go unnoticed, but we would be proud to know they have succeeded and made a great impression, not only for their schools, but for the Imperial Valley.
That being said, a lot has been going on in the first two to three months of the school year for the different bands. It all comes to a conclusion or close to it for most bands at this Halftime Showcase, held at Central High’s Cal Jones Field.
I walked out of the event this year with such a negative vibe and it was confirmed by those around me stating their disappointment. It was compounded with reactions the following days. The Band Showcase is the one night for the Bands. It is a fundraiser for them, but this year’s event was more like a Central Spartan Pep Rally. Although the bands have been practicing since before school started, they have taken a backseat to sports up until this event. This was their event, their show, their night.
During the Spartan Band performance, the entire football team and cheerleaders were announced and went onto the field like a Friday night football game. To put into perspective, it would be equivalent to being at a wedding reception and group of people walked into the ballroom with a lit birthday cake, singing “Happy Birthday” to a wedding guest during the First Dance. Inappropriate, disrespectful and surely out of line to say the least. A slap in the faces to the same people/groups that are the reason for the Showcase in the first place.
Granted, there is a lot of organization and hard work that is needed to put on this show. I do know that other schools have requested to host this event, but they have been met with a negative response. Why? Shouldn’t other schools be afforded the opportunity to host and possibly alternate the location each year to give everyone in the Imperial Valley the opportunity to see the local bands and have their fundraiser. After the other night’s show, I believe that it is time for the change, one that has long been overdue. Give the other schools the chance as they might have better ideas and allow them the opportunity to earn much needed fundraising dollars.
While I don’t know the exact solution, I believe an apology should be given by those who organized and thought it was okay to overshadow the hard work and practice of all band members and their directors. That is the least that we should expect.