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Rows and rows of the finest virtuosos

West Ranch's band of gold polishing its act for competiton season

Posted: August 29, 2008 9:09 p.m.
Updated: October 31, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Liz Molloy works on spinning a triangle during band practice at West Ranch High School on Thursday evening.

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Ronny Sunnaa was drum major for the West Ranch High School Marching Band for the last three years.

The 17-year-old senior trumpet, trombone and euphonium player considers music to be part of his life. He spent his summer touring 27 states with a drum and bugle band and soon after coming home to the Santa Clarita Valley in August, he shifted focus to rehearsing alongside 111 classmates in the marching band.

Sunnaa and the rest of the marching band are gearing up for another competition season - their third to be exact - and even though the school is young, the marching band has been leading the way in competitions.

Last year, the band took first place at the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association championships.

"I'm pleased," said Jason Marshall, band director.

The marching band has been on its own routine when it comes to rehearsal.

The first week of August brought 12-hour days while the upcoming months means practicing Tuesdays, Thursdays and the occasional Saturday, Marshall said.

The first competition is in October and will be one of seven competitions over the fall semester. Marshall said band members will perform their originally scored show, "Bermuda Triangle."

The increase in competitions has come as school attendance grew.

Last school year, the band featured 91 students. And while it will lose eight seniors at the end of this school year, Marshall estimates that it will gain up to 50 new members next year.

The reasons students participate in the demanding activity vary.

"Most of these kids enjoy music and playing their instrument," Marshall said, as the more than 100 students lined the high school field and stretched.

Marshall believes the kids enjoy the feel of the competition.

"We like going out there and putting on a good show," he said.

However, to sophomore Joyce Choi, marching band means being part of a team.

"It's fun to do it together," she said.

Choi, 15, who plays the flute, has started her second year on the marching band. And while she is starting her second year in high school, Choi believes she will attend college to major in flute and another subject.

For the time being, she's enjoying her time as part of the team.

"Everybody always has fun in marching band," she said.

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