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Wildcats claw the competition

Band has had a meteoric rise in three years

Posted: December 16, 2008 7:59 p.m.
Updated: December 17, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Members of the West Ranch High School Marching Band hold a plaque proclaiming the band and color guard's victory at the Southern California School Band and Orchestra championships in Long Beach Dec. 6.

The West Ranch High School Marching Band and Color Guard captured its second consecutive Southern California State Championship Title at the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association championships competition at Long Beach City College on Dec. 6.

With an overall score of 84.75 points, the Wildcat Marching Band has achieved a meteoric rise to the top of its 3A division in only three short years of competing.

"What we've accomplished is amazing," said Jason Marshall, director of instrumental music at West Ranch.
"It takes a lot of hard work from the students and support from the parents to make it happen. These back-to-back championships are an incredible testament to the importance of the arts at West Ranch High School."

The Wildcat Band was formed in fall 2005 with only 35 students.

In that first year, the band achieved scores high enough to be one of 10 bands in its division invited to the championships. It placed fifth.

The following year, the Wildcat Band doubled in size and was classified as 2A in competition. In its second year of competition, it captured its first Southern California State title.

By fall 2007, the number of students had increased sufficiently to move the band up into the 3A classification.

This year, the band's reputation preceding it onto the field, the West Ranch Marching Wildcats consistently took first place in its division.

The Wildcats also were the top-scoring band at this year's Rampage Field Tournament at College of the Canyons.

The Wildcats concluded its third year of competitive marching by defending its gold medal as winners of High Band and High Auxiliary.

"If it's not unprecedented, it's nearly unprecedented," said Marshall on his band's quick rise to championship status.

Laurel van der Linde of Castaic is fundraising chairman for the West Ranch High School Marching Band.


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