By Mackenzie Thomas
Every year, a new group of freshmen come up to the high school to fill the empty spaces that have been left from the previous year’s graduating seniors. One group that feels the impact of this influx in new faces and the loss of old friends is the marching band. Each year, there is a new crop of freshmen needing to be taught how to march, what a drill chart is, and how to read them. And every year, the band sets out to attempt greatness.
A yearly event that takes place is the District III Marching Competition held at Bronco Stadium at BSU. The band went to this competition this year with hopeful hearts. THE Kuna Gold competed in the 4A division and had a great performance on October 12th. As they walked off the field, the energy was high. There was electricity in the air among the band members that could only come from finishing one of the best runs of their show this year. There were tears and hugs and high-fives exchanged particularly among the seniors. For them, this was it. The last time they will participate in this competition that had come to mean so much to them. They had gone out and given their all to put out a product that was impossible to be anything but proud of.
After finishing putting away instruments and sharing the excitement with each other, many of the band members left for homecoming. For those that stayed to watch other bands, and listen to the awards ceremony, the day was even longer. They watched several bands including Columbia High School and Nampa High School, where at a previous competition in Caldwell, they had been close behind us. They watched their performances and knew that they had some serious competition. But they knew they’d given their all, and hoped that would be good enough.
After a long-awaited moment of truth, the awards were given one division at a time. They began with the Auxiliary scores and went through each division before moving to the next award. The Kuna Gold Band received 2nd place for our Auxiliary scores in the 4A division, below Columbia who received first. Awards are given in each division for Best Marching, Best Music, Best Percussion, and Best General Effect. And for each of these categories, Kuna was the recipient. At long last, it was time to announce the placement within the division based on the cumulative score from each category. Columbia took second place with a score of 74. And THE Kuna Gold took 1st place in the 4A division with a score of 78.483.
The very last scores to be announced were the overall scores, the sweepstakes winners. Sweepstakes trophies are given to the top bands in the entire competition. For the first time in a very long time or perhaps even in the history of D-III Marching Competition, a 4A Band placed in Sweepstakes. THE Kuna Gold Band and Guard received the second place Sweepstakes award beating all but one of the 5A schools as well as those below them. The only school who had a higher score than Kuna was Vallivue High School.
Drum Major Natasja Price, a senior, said, “I have never been so happy in my life. I am so amazed at how well we did I couldn’t have wanted a better performance. The band has improved so much since my freshman year and I’m completely blown away.”
Drum Major Davis Gibbons, also a senior, said, “It is an amazing thing to be an underdog, and to show people that Kuna can be great. I’ve been involved in this program for four years, and it is absolutely phenomenal to see it go from dead last to very first. But I can guarantee you that Kuna is not done yet. Great things are coming, and I hope to have the honor of being a part of it.”
“Performing on the BSU turf was one on the most adrenaline-pumping things I’ve ever felt. But standing on it and receiving the awards is something that I want to cherish forever. It’s a feeling of knowing how much hard work one has put into the show. It is knowing that the band’s dedication is showing. And it’s the passion for music that we all hold. It literally made my legs tremble with excitement. We are now preparing, with the help of our amazing band directors, staff members and parent boosters to attend Bands of America and do the best we can,” said Drum Major Dhamaris Mendez, a Junior.
Michael D. Gough has been a member of Kuna’s marching band staff since this year’s senior class, the class of 2014, were freshmen. After Kuna was announced as second place sweepstakes winner, he said, “This weekend the Kuna High School Marching Band not only made history, they began a journey that will likely change the entire Marching Band community forever. When I came back to start working with the band four years ago, I told the class of 2014 that they could do what they’ve now done. As I said many times, ‘the first step to doing anything, is believing that you can.’ Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives and thank you for believing in yourself.”
Mr. Zebulon Bellon, Director of THE Kuna Gold said, “Congratulations on an excellent performance! You are an amazing group of people! I’m truly humbled by all of you and very lucky to be able to work with such incredible young professionals. Remember what it took to get to where we are tonight. NEVER forget that. Nobody handed you this, you earned it. Humility and integrity wins respect. Quantity doesn’t make quality. Hard work beats talent. As we go into our next competition on Monday please keep that high expectation of yourself. Be proud of your community, school and program, and represent those entities well. Support every other band. Treat them and cheer for them how you would want them to treat and cheer for you. Be humble, be supportive, be kind and be respectful. Perform well. Again, congratulations on all of your hard work that brought you here tonight. And special congratulations to our seniors on their outstanding final DIII performance. You’re amazing folks, all of you!”
Mackenzie Thomas is a member of The Kuna Gold Band and has been writing about the band for Kuna Melba News this season. She says, “On behalf of THE Kuna Gold, I would like to thank everyone who has helped bring us to a point where we could accomplish everything we have so far this season. We have amazing directors, amazing staff, amazing parents, an amazing booster organization, and amazing supporters in our community. Without all of you, we would just be a bunch of kids wandering aimlessly across a field. Thanks for everything!”
“To the band, I just want to say, we may have done well, but we still have a long way to go. We are getting ready to compete at Bands of America and that is going to be a very different atmosphere from what we’ve experienced. So let’s keep on pushing and keep on working hard. We have so much more potential than what we are achieving even now. Let’s go for it. Be the stick! Bring the juice! Eyes with Pride! Be KUNA PROUD!”