Marching face to face with the competitor

The marching band family made history at The Legend Marching Festival.

The EHS marching band celebrating their first place win.

The EHS marching band celebrating their first place win.

Kaitlyn Walsh, Staff Reporter

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The happy cries of victory filled the stands when the EHS marching band was announced the first place winner of the Legend Marching Festival competition. The 2019 marching band made history when they embraced the family that they are a part of and were titled 2019 champions. 

On October 5, the festival was up and running for its 10th annual production at the Echo Park Stadium in Parker. This competition provides smaller schools, like Eaton, the chance to perform and compete in a competitive environment. The EHS marching band departed from the high school at 7:30 a.m. to perform during the preliminary competition just shortly after noon. 

The band took fourth place overall out of 2A, 3A, and 4A bands after the first performance, so they qualified for the finals competition that began later that evening. The members mentally and physically prepared for one of the biggest performances of the season. Monique Anchondo (20), a saxophone player and section leader said, “The hardest part about yesterday was my nerves. I was scared that we wouldn’t be able to perform again in the afternoon… When we got fourth place in prelims I knew that we did amazing.”

Logan Doddridge, the band director at EHS told his band before their final performance to create something that they would be proud of. He emphasized that the score is not what matters, but the message that the audience receives is the most important element of the competition. Anchondo said, “A lot of bands just flow through the motions because they are told to do that, but our band puts every piece of their heart into the show. We never give up, and when people look down on us because of how small we are, we pick ourselves up and remember that we will always have each other…” 

The band is small in comparison to other competing schools in the 2a category. They are granted $1,400 to $1,800 a year. The money covers the cost of props, uniform cleaning, food, and other necessary expenses associated with the activity. All students are parents help put the show on the field because they work together to paint and build props, load trailers for competitions, prepare food, and cheer on the band during performances. Anchondo said, “This show has shown people that money and size of the band doesn’t matter when everyone in the band has such a big heart for every single thing that they do.”

One of Eaton’s biggest competitors, The Classical Academy, another 2a band from Colorado Springs has won first place at Legend for the past three years. Eaton has participated in this competition for eight years, and TCA has placed higher than Eaton since they began competing together at Legend. 

At the preliminary performance, The Classical Academy took first place in the 2A category, and Eaton took second place. Clarinet player and section leader, Itxel Nunez (22) said after prelims,  “ I was very excited to see other bands bring it on, and I was also excited to show them what a small town band could do.” 

After the finals competition came to an end, and the band headed to the stands to await the results. The announcer announced every band from 13th through third place, but Eaton had not been called. When The Classical Academy was announced in second place, Eaton band members looked at each other in shock. Band members leapt to their feet with shouts of joy when Eaton was announced as the first place winner for the first time in eight years. Anchondo said, “During the awards ceremony for finals when they got to sixth place, I was ready to hear our band called, but then fifth place came around, then fourth and third. I was ready for second place, and then The Classical Academy was called for second place.

“Tears started flowing down my face… It’s my senior season, so this was a very special moment for me and the rest of my class. ”

— Monique Anchondo

For eight years, the band has been training and improving to become the best version of themselves. Every year, the band has become more dedicated and hungry for a win. Anchondo said, “I make a joke that it only took four years, but in reality the past three years were nothing more than a trial for this year. This band is the first band that I know I will always look back on when I graduate and remember how much they have impacted my life and how much space in my heart I will keep for them.” 

The show that Eaton has produced is about the feeling you get when you are home. The EHS marching band has created an environment where all members feel loved and at home. Cade Bean (20) said, “I honestly felt as if there was a mistake, but after I looked at Moe who was sitting right next to me holding my hand and crying, I realized that our band family embraced what it meant to be a family.”

The band hopes to keep its successful season rolling. According to Doddridge, a successful band needs “a hard work ethic”. He said, “That’s another reason why this band has been so successful. They are not worried about their skill level, if they are better or worse than their friends, and those things. They come out here every single day, and they work hard.” The marching band will now practice and prepare for regionals which will take place on October 14.