Band prepares for upcoming year

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Pride, Dedication and Excellence is the motto for the Portales High School Ram Band. Under new leadership, the band is already on the fast track for a busy year.

Former band director Brandon Boerio left to pursue a job with Clovis Schools, moving assistant director Cindy Stone up to take his position. Derek Harris has taken the job of assistant band director, Stone said.

“I am very excited to be here,” Harris said.

According to Stone the year ahead will be a busy one for both the directors and the band members. A performance on Friday evening for family and friends was the culmination of a two-week band camp for the students. During the camp, students worked on several Civil War-era songs that will be this year’s theme for the marching band, she said.

“It just incorporates old folk songs from the Civil War into an exciting form of music,” Harris said.

“It’s challenging for them, yet fun to play,” Stone stated.

For the 2007-08 school year, the band will play at home football games and travel to a few away games. They also plan on going to a variety of competitions, including the ZIA Marching Fiesta in Albuquerque, and the District Marching Festival in Artesia. During the year, the band will also participate in local events. The band will also be traveling to California and plans are being made to compete in the
All-State Concert Band Festival, Stone said.

“We were runner-ups last year and I plan on giving (other schools) a run for their money this year,” Stone said.

“I’m excited for it. I think it’s going to be a really good year. Everybody’s doing a good job of adjusting to our new directors,” PHS Senior Heather Stroud, who is in the percussion section of the band, said.
Stone, a graduate of the program herself, is excited and a little bit nervous to be taking the program over, she said.

“I’m a graduate of this program and there’s a lot of history and pride with this program. It means a lot to me and the kids mean a lot to me,” Stone said.

Many of the students have been in band for the past several years, starting in junior high and advancing through the grades. The program is growing, with 89 students, up from 63 last year. Stone attributes the success of the band to support received not only from the students, but also parents, administration, staff and coaches, she said.

“They want to see us out there,” Stone said of the support.

For PHS Senior Daniel Perez, he has high hopes for the year. Playing the saxophone for the past six years, Perez is serving as a drum major for the year. Though the teaching styles of Stone and Harris differ from that of Boerio, Perez feels that the year will be good, he said.

“I think it’s going to go pretty well. We have a lot of hardworking freshmen,” Perez said.