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

CHS band sweeps Zia


October 23, 2019

Kevin Wilson

The Clovis High band rehearses Tuesday morning at Norvil Howell Band Hall.

CLOVIS - No matter where its plays or what it wins, the Clovis High band will always have a special place in its heart for the Zia Marching Fiesta. On Saturday, it gave a special performance to prove it.

The band had its best performance to date with its "Rachy" show at the University of New Mexico, winning every trophy it was eligible to win while extending its own record for consecutive state championships to eight.

The band took its 19th overall state championship, 14th grand champion title and made the finals for the 40th time in the event's history.

"It's a deep-rooted tradition that goes back 40 years," said CHS Band Director Bill Allred, who captured his 12th Zia title. "Clovis is the only band in the state that's made the finals every year since (the final round has) existed."

Band does not fall under the umbrella of the New Mexico Activities Association, and Zia is generally considered the state championship for marching band.

The CHS band won the preliminary competition by three points, and took the awards for musical achievement, general effect and visual effect.

"I told them their job was to make the judges go to dinner talking about them," Allred said. "I've judged before. You go to dinner (between prelims and finals), and there are certain bands you just talk about. Finals, the kids stepped it up even more, and the judges were open to spread the points more, which was huge."

Clovis won the final round by more than five points, and took the musical achievement, general effect and visual effect finals awards. For context, when Clovis placed fifth at the Midland Bands of America Regional on Oct. 12, just six points separated the top six finishers.

"It feels really good," said senior Blaine Pipal, who plays the sousaphone in the show. "A lot of the other bands have gotten much better. The other bands have improved so much, so winning the competition by that many points felt so good."

Early in the season, Clovis had rough starts in the preliminary rounds before kicking into another gear in finals. This time out, the band felt it was consistently great.

"This group has been making improvements throughout the year," Pipal said. "Everybody's been working so hard, and I know my section has been working hard."

The "Rachy" show includes music from the "Rocky" movies, Russian Romantic-period composer Sergei Rachmaninoff and Ron Nelson's "Rocky Point Holiday."

The band will head to St. George, Utah, in a little more than two weeks for another Bands of America regional. Some changes are being made to the show, Allred said, largely based on feedback from the Midland competition.

"Sometimes when you put something on the page and you put it on the stage," Allred said, "it's not as effective as you thought."


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