My Years in the Reedley High School Marching Band

May 29, 2010 | 2010 Articles, Education, Reedley News, Teens

by Crystal Rakes

Next year, I will be a senior and it will be my last year in the Reedley High Dancing Marching Pirate Band. Although it will be my senior year, and I will finally be done with high school, I don’t want it to end. Band is something that I will never forget.

I laugh when I look back at me as a freshman, trying to learn how to march. I don’t have to strain terribly hard to remember, thanks to considerate parents putting together a DVD of the entire marching season. I couldn’t march in step, for one thing. That barely changed last year, when I began to march in step. I can still hear Lizzy, “Oh my God, Crystal is actually in step!” I don’t blame her, that’s how I felt.

RHS Marching Band

Another thing that hasn’t changed is how much energy I put into the band. After each drill, when the director says to go somewhere, and quickly, I run. During the end of the semester assembly, when the directors recap the year and pass out the band letters, one of the newest directors decided to revive the Director’s Awards. The first one that they read off was none other than the Most Enthusiastic. “No one can dispute that this person always puts out energy, is always up-beat, and always runs to where she’s supposed to be.” By this time, I was beat red, because I could hear my name being spoken around the Performing Arts Theatre, and sure enough, they asked me to stand up. That was one time I wished I could sink into the floor.

One thing people call me weird for is that I like practices. True, we work from 7-9 on Thursday nights, and during class time, but there is plenty of time for fun. I have a number of other trumpet player friends, and they are usually in the same area as me. My friend Kyle and I entertain the people around us with random accents. I accidentally smacked Kyle in the face once; we were trying to do the Nerd Spin high-five. Kyle’s taller than me, and I was trying to compensate, but got his face instead of his hand. Luckily, he forgave me. There’s been a lot of things, but if I were to put it all in here, well, we’d still be here next year. But all the goofing off ends the second the drum major or the band director shouts “BAND, ATTEN-TION!!”

The thing that really sticks in my mind is the trips. Some are uneventful, but most are very memorable. One rule about band trips is that a bus always breaks down, especially right before the Dinuba Raisin Day Parade and the Selma Marching Band Festival. If one doesn’t, it jinxes us. Good times, especially if you’re on the busted bus. The bus is always an interesting place, but an unspoken rule is that what goes on in the band bus, stays in the band bus. Oh, there’s nothing bad, it’s just fun to make people wonder. I can say riding in the regular yellow school bus is way different than a charter bus.

During my three years, I’ve been in the Hollywood Santa Parade (freshman year), the Disneyland Christmas Parade and the Hollywood Santa Parade again (sophomore year), then the Santa Cruz Band Review (junior year). I think the one I had the most fun on was the Disneyland trip.

Disneyland. Good times. We got there around 10am and stayed until 11pm, we had to warm up at 3 and, around 5 o’clock, we performed. The rest of the time was ours. I hung out with my besties Lizzy, Maddie, and Nic. The day seems like a blur now. There are some things that are fresh in my mind. We all still laugh at the way Liz nearly jumped into Madison’s lap on the Indiana Jones ride as we got to the snake. Or how she made Nic and me sit on the edge for Star Tours, ‘cause she didn’t want to sit next to the figurines, which were up in front. Then there was my epic fail at the Toy Story ride/game.

The thing that makes me laugh the hardest, and that is still in hot debate, is when Nic and I accidentally ditched Liz and Maddie. It wasn’t our fault, we weren’t trying to. The two of us wanted to go on a ride that they didn’t want to go on. So, we split up. They went to go eat, we went to the ride. After we got off, I called Madison and told the two of them that we’d meet them at the train station (you know, that train that runs around Disneyland) and, if it came in, we’d be getting on the train and leaving. Nic and I are sitting at the station, and he remarks, “Wouldn’t it be funny if they got here when the train left?”

Sure enough, that’s what happened. We boarded the train, and here comes Liz and Maddie. We’re waving and yelling for them to hurry up, but it was too late, the train had left. I can still see Liz shouting, “You are so dead.” Nic and I were so dead, because we were laughing so hard. We left the train, and waited for Liz and Madison. That’s when we got the brilliant idea to ditch them a second time. We waited until their train came in, waited until they saw us, and then booked it in the opposite direction. When they caught up, I was beat with Liz’s purse.

RHS band at Selma Band Festival

Band has been fun and I look forward to making more memories. As I look to next year, I wonder what it has in store for me, and I wonder if it can compare to the years before. And then I smile, and say, “Of course it can!”

Crystal Rakes is 17 years old and an ongoing contributor to our Teen Talk section, found playing trumpet, reading or swimming when not writing.


  1. Oh man, Reedley marching band is the BEST! I haven’t seen it in some years – certainly before your time – but I’m sure it’s the same if not better 🙂

    I’m glad you have those memories to keep and cherish. Thanks for the Disneyland tales too.

    .-= A recent submission from Dave: An Interview With Area Cow, Mooble Hoofer =-.

  2. I always find it delightful to hear the enthusiasm, pride and pure enjoyment for organizations within the school systems. With so many schools cutting back or eliminating music and band departments due to budget constraints it is refreshing to hear that the Reedly High School Marching Band is successful and brings pride and recognition to the school. Congratulations to Crystal and all the band members. May you all treasure these times and realize that you are building foundations for life.

  3. Grandma and I are Very Proud of you, Crystal!


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