Sky View Marching Band brings their performances “Up to the Roof!”

Image: Sky View Marching Band performs their show “Rock Me Blue” at the Red Rocks Invitational band competition in St. George Utah on Oct 28, 2011.

Sky View Marching Band performs their show “Rock Me Blue” at the Red Rocks Invitational band competition in St. George Utah on Oct 28, 2011. (Lisa C. Poulsen)

On Friday, October 28th, 2011 the Sky View Marching Band competed against 13 other Open Class bands at the Red Rocks Invitational and against 32 bands on Saturday, October 29th in the Bands of America 2011 Regional Championships both held at St. George in Dixie University’s Hansen Stadium.

At Red Rocks, Sky View had the performance of their season placing them 5th of the 13 bands in Open Class to be entered in the Friday evening competition. Sky View continued their success in the Saturday BOA Regional Championships winning the 7th place spot with 2 stellar performances and ending their season on a high note.

Randal Beach, Director of the Sky View Marching Band said this about the outcome: “In the past 7 to 9 days the SV students have raised their performance and level of excellence to a degree that was simply remarkable. They competed in BOA against 32 bands from 9 states. These were all outstanding Marching bands. And for Sky View to place 7th overall at that level is a tremendous accomplishment. I am just so very proud of these students and what they have done. It is truly miraculous.”

The St. George Bands of America event is the second largest of the 10 BOA Regional competitions held across the United States in 2011. Bands traveling from Washington, Idaho, Colorado, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah to compete at the St. George, Utah events.

Sky View was one of only 3 Utah bands to earn scores on their Saturday afternoon Bands of America Preliminary performance high enough to win one of high contested 10 spots in Finals competition to be performed later that evening. American Fork and Davis Marching bands were the only other of the 13 Utah bands that had BOA preliminary performances scoring high enough to move on.

Band members from Mead High School Marching Band from Washington state, while not earning a top 10 score, took 1st place honors in their division and were asked to play in exhibition during Finals. Mead band members told Sky View students that, even though they have a BOA regional competition that is closer to their school, they drive the 22 hours it takes to travel to St. George in order to compete in Utah because of the caliber of the competition. “The bands here are just awesome! They really are the best.” they said.

The number of bands attending the BOA St. George event has increased from 26 bands in 2010 to 32 bands in 2011. The quality of the shows that these bands perform have increased in excellence as well. In the 2010 BOA Regionals, only 3 of the final 10 bands had scores over 80 points. In 2011, the number of bands that scored more than 80 doubled. Sky View High School placed 7th overall with their score of 79.7.

The winning band, Upland High School from California took 1st place honors with a score of 87.3 with American Fork High School from Utah in 2nd place. The other Utah marching band in finals Davis High School earned a 4th place spot.

Mr. Beech said, “We wanted this year’s show to be something very special. The design and creation was a very arduous process that extended through the entire season. The students overcame the challenge of many changes in music and marching. We struggled at first. The determination, hard work and dedication of these young people came shining through in the end and they achieved an incredible level of excellence.”

After the Bridgerland Band Invitational at USU on October 15th, Sky View was placed 5th out of 5 bands in the Open Class competition. The band’s spirits were crushed following the loss. Mr. Beach spoke to them about how when you want something badly and you don’t achieve it, that it hurts a lot. He asked the kids, “Does that mean we are going to give up?” They responded as one with a resounding “No!” They were committed to work harder and with more drive than ever before. That commitment showed in their following practices.

Elayna Pederson, band parent, staff assistant, and volunteer, felt a unique determination in their response after the BBI last place finish. She said that it takes a kind of mental toughness for anyone to take correction, adjust and perform with consistent skill. Students would be asked to fix something and then they would keep it fixed. These kids did that again and again. She said, “To go from where they were at BBI to this outcome at BOA takes a champion type of heart.”

In addition to a new attitude, Sky View was wearing new black uniform pants. Lisa Poulsen, a band parent and volunteer said, “I like the look of the new black pants. It really makes the old jackets look sharp.” The reason for the SV uniform change was for more than aesthetics, though. Until this performance Sky view has been the only high school band to have been wearing white pants. “This uniform change really levels the playing field for us.” Poulsen said, “I think it gave us something to believe in also. There was this attitude with the whole band that we look different, our focus and determination is different, and the outcome will be different for us too.”

One of the judges for the Red Rocks competition had seen Sky View compete at the Davis Invitational only 10 days before and commented that Friday’s performance was like watching a whole new band.

The members of the SV Band gave the performance of their lives on Friday Night at Red Rocks. Band parents agreed that sky view had not played a show that superbly in the last 10 years. They played with incredible energy and focus. The band had really worked hard after BBI and it was paying off.

After their preliminary performance on Saturday, at BOA prelims all the bands gathered together In the stands to hear the results. First, awards were given based on preliminary competition scores in 4 classes. Bands from out of state that SV had never competed against were beating the scores of Utah bands that had been scoring higher than SV all year. This made sky View start to feel really nervous about their chances of making it into finals.

Then came the moment of truth – the announcement of top 10 finishing bands. All 32 incredibly great Marching Band schools all vying against one another for one of the 10 spots in Finals competition. One after another, out-of-state bands claimed spots in BOA Finals. 5 spots filled. Then 6. When 7 was filled with a band from California SV got a pit in their stomach. The caliber of this competition was so great that there was a moment of doubt that SV would get in at all. Then the announcer said “and the eighth band to compete in the 2011 Bands of America Finals is….. Sky View High School from Smithfield, Utah.” The kids and their fans went crazy! It was bedlam in the stands! Faces went from worry and heartbreak to jubilation. There were tears and cheers and hugs all around.

Tara Poulsen, a freshman Clarinet, said “That announcer took forever to say that 8th band. He went on and on and then the pause was, like, 2 minutes long, I swear.” Another band member said about the tense moment, “I think I actually died a little right then.”

After the celebratory moment it was back to work for SV. The band had to get dinner, get back into uniform and drum up the strength to compete one last time in Finals. Band parents wondered if they would have the chops to pull it off after performing full out for 2 days strait. Stacie Poulsen, a senior Snare player, when asked if she was nervous about performing in finals said, “No Way! The stress is off now! This performance is for fun!”

Drum majors beamed while conducting as the band played their last time together. Even with a few technical difficulties with the mics, band members with solos adjusted on the fly and played their hearts out. Tears and congratulations on a fantastic season were shared by band member afterwards even before the final results were announced. They had accomplished what they had set out to do.

Sky View along with the 9 other bands competing in the BOA 2011 finals performance then marched unto the field together in what is called a retreat. The 10 Finalists bands form up into ranks, each with their own band, in a 100 yard wide rainbow of colorful uniforms and color guard costumes for the announcement of their placement order 1 through 10. “This is my favorite part of BOA right here,” said Tamara Hardy, a band parent and volunteer. “Is is just amazing to see them all march in together like this.”

Band parents were thrilled at how the year turned out for the Sky view Marching Band. Lisa Poulsen said of the 7th place finish, “We band parents are so extremely proud of the way our kids handled themselves all year. It is so discouraging to fall short all year. We admire how they worked hard at everything that was asked of them, and kept their spirits up. They steadily improved their performance with every competition. They believed in the show, in each other, and in themselves. To have earned this level of success is a result of that.”

Susan Green, one of the Head Band Moms sent this text out to friends and family after the final awards: " [Mr. Beach] motivated them with unbelievable “beach speeches” about breaking down this wall we had before us and how to do it. The kids worked so hard…. It was just awesome to watch the transformation from dead last locally to top ten in region with an awesome performance. Hard work and positive motivation made miracles happened right before our eyes!!!"

The Sky View Marching Band 2011 Show was titled “Rock Me Blue” with 5 movements: “Your Attention, Please” “Blue Rondo Ala Turk” “Up to the Roof” “I Feel Love” and “Blue Shades.” The 2011 SV Marching Band music is by Blue Man Group, Dave Brubeck and Frank Tichelli. The 2011 Sky View High School Marching Band includes 135 Students grades 9 through 12.