The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Bands' seasons begin


October 2, 2019

Kevin Wilson

The color guard, forced inside due to Tuesday's inclement weather, works on its routines in the Norvil Howell Band Hall at Clovis High School. Saturday marks the first competitions for the Clovis and Portales bands.

The sound of notes bursting through base, the booms and rat-a-tats of drumlines and the whipping of colored flags in the air.

Those sights and sounds have been a constant in the band halls and the football fields of eastern New Mexico weeks before the students playing them even had to worry about their first day of school.

All of that early mornings, late nights and even some weekends has led to the next few weeks, as band competition season is upon the Clovis and Portales bands.

The first exhibition was no match for inclement weather, however, as the Eastern New Mexico Green and Silver Open was called off due to the flash flood warning that struck Curry and Roosevelt counties Tuesday.

But there's still plenty of competition in the next few days, with the Portales and Clovis high school bands heading to a total of three events in the next six days.

The Clovis High band is pulling a Saturday doubleheader, performing in the morning at the Lubbock Westerner before heading to the High Plains Marching Festival in Amarillo.

Clovis will also compete at the Oct. 12 Bands of America event in Midland, followed by the Zia Marching Festival in Albuquerque Oct. 19. The CHS band has won the Zia competition, recognized in the band circles as the unofficial state championship, the last seven years.

This year's show is "Rachy," a mixture of music from the "Rocky" movies, pieces from Romantic composer Sergei Rachmaninoff and "Rocky Top Holiday" by Ron Nelson.

"It may sound like it's simple because it's 'Rocky' music," director Bill Allred said, "but it's actually quite a complicated show. The literature that's being played is quite difficult."

After that, Clovis will compete Nov. 7-11 at the Bands of America competition in St. George, Utah.

Portales will also compete in the High Plains Festival, then conclude its short competition season at its district competition in Artesia on Tuesday.

"After this week is over, we try to get our kids more ready for more individualized competitions," PHS Band Director Kelli Morrison said. "We have district honor band and all-state honor band in November and December."

Portales' show this season is called "Music of a Lifetime," which happened because strangely-timed inspiration struck Morrison.

"We're showcasing the music of Bill Joel, Jim Croce and Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons,'" Morrison said. "It shows the course of life through music. About 2 o'clock one morning, I woke up and that's what I wanted to do. Our writer and arranger, B.J. Brooks at West Texas A&M, was very keen on the idea.

"This year's show is, musically, significantly higher level than shows we've done in past year. We've also got a large class of freshmen who are first year marchers. They've done very well stepping up, learning to march and play. They've made great strides, and the band as a whole has really improved their sound quality."

Allred said Clovis has stepped up its show as well for this year, whether it's musically, visually or through choreography. A big challenge, Allred said, is the motion boxing rings on the field.

"They're 10-foot by 10-foot and they weigh 1,000 pounds each," Allred said. "It's more noticeable than if a sousaphone plays the wrong note or there's a flag mistake."

The elements of "Rachy," Allred said, are a gift to the city of Clovis, which he said has had difficult times with the unexpected deaths of some students and the 2017 library shooting. The "Rocky" movies are tales of triumph, Rachmaninoff overcame depression before writing some of his best music and Nelson's piece was about a roller coaster ride.

Clovis has performed much of its show during the first three Wildcat home games, but Friday's homecoming performance will be the first with the ending.


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