by Asami Nelson
Marching down the streets of Reedley, California, is the Big Green Marching Band. It is one of the largest on the West Coast, consisting of over 300 students from Reedley High School, under the direction of Daniel Paulsen, Samuel Gipson, Lisa Dewhirst, Jason Aubrey, and Michael McGraw. This year, the Band built on the efforts of last year to fundraise for their trip to Disneyland. The students and the directors traveled to Anaheim to perform during Santa’s Parade down Main Street, where hundreds watched and cheered. The Band had spent many weeks preparing and perfecting their routine, incorporating different dances, bows, and other choreographic movements. The community of Reedley also traveled down to Los Angeles to support them.
As performers, the students were allowed to go backstage and be a part of the Disneyland staff, which enhanced the magical Disney Experience. Every student, from freshmen to senior, playing every instrument from flute to tuba, enjoyed the event. Luke Method, a trombone player, commented that Disneyland was, “Pretty fun [sic], especially the rides. And the roads we marched on were slippery, and the parade was shorter than we were used to.”
Leslie Gomez, a flute player, stated that it was her first time at Disneyland and she got lost inside the park because it was so large. She also mentioned that it was very pretty, and said that during the parade, all the students seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Mikayla Reyna, a trumpet player, was very tired because of the band’s early departure from Reedley. However, she found the Disneyland trip was a great bonding experience, and it was great to play in a new location and setting.
Jason Aubrey, the drum line director, commented that his experience at Disneyland was a lot of fun, and that it was clear to him that the students loved the trip. He said that the best part of being a director is to watch the growth of the students from freshman to senior, and to see them succeed and develop. He loves to be surrounded by music, especially working with the students in his drum line. Mr. Aubrey is very excited for the upcoming marching season and is looking forward to the challenges he and the other directors will face.
The Reedley Big Green Marching Machine has been greatly supported by all of the band directors who work tirelessly and passionately. They spend their mornings working with young musicians to help develop their skills, not only with their instruments, but also with teamwork and confidence, along with a variety of other skills. The Band Boosters are parents of the students, who assist the band and staff by helping maintain, clean, and repair uniforms, supply food and water, and chaperone the trips. The marching band also performs at football games every Friday, both at home and away during the fall season. The band has also won Grand Marshall and Sweepstakes at the annual Selma Band Review competition. Each student in the RHS marching band has grown both as a musician and a person, as music helps develop skills that will benefit them in the future.