AFHS Marching Band Brings Back the Beat


Photo Credit: Autumn Daniels

Jenielle Sephia Bongo, OwlFeed Sports Reporter

Music Along The Estrellas.

On Saturday, October 22, 2022, the Agua Fria Marching Band made a significant achievement: Finally hosting a home competition for the first time in almost 8 years! 


Twenty schools from all across the state were in attendance, competing in three different divisions. Division 1A consisted of bands with less than fifty members, Division 2A with fifty to seventy four members, and Division 3A composed of seventy five to a hundred and four members. The Agua Fria Marching Band team is part of the 2A division, however, as hosts of the competition, they were not able to compete and thus did not get scored. Instead, the team performed at the very end of the night, closing the event. Band captain, Ana Sofia Carranza, stated that “performing that night was one of the best feelings” as more than 1,500 spectators witnessed their spectacular performance. Mia Hules, also a captain, added, “We had our best performance so far at that time, the crowd giving us a standing ovation. It was so awesome!” For the team, it was definitely the loud cheers and overwhelming support that they received that made their entire efforts feel extremely rewarding. It was an experience that each and every one of the members will never forget.


The Preparation.

This competition was such a huge and exciting event, which the team had been preparing for since summer! Having to consider and tend for over 1,500 people was not an easy task. Every single small detail had to be taken into account and the organization process took a lot of time and energy. Being that this was the first time that AFHS had hosted a band competition in around 8 years, it was more challenging as there were no frameworks from previous competitions, and no one in the band staff had hosted at this campus before, therefore there was a lot more work needed to be done. Band director, Mr. Jeremy Garcia, stated that “details such as schedule, facility use, food trucks, volunteers, to hosting and guiding the visitors around our campus were carefully considered.” The team of coordinators put an enormous amount of effort into making sure that there were no issues and that everything ran smoothly on the big day.

Photo Credit: Mia Hules

Aside from that, the team had constant practice during class and after school in order to prepare for this event. “We had been preparing for all competitions since May by having practices every Tuesday and Thursday. That week of the competition, we also practiced on Friday, the day before,” Sofia said. Mia also commented, “We really honed in on the small kinks we had yet to work out of our show to make sure our performance on that Saturday was the best it had ever been.” During that Friday, students that were hosting toured around the school and were shown where to lead the other teams and visitors so that they were fully prepared to assist them and ensure that it could be as least stressful as it could have been.


On the day of, the members arrived at school at seven in the morning in order to do last minute preparations for the event, running the entire competition the whole day, then performing at nine o’clock at night. The majority of the members’ day was filled with guiding other students or teams from other schools, making sure that everyone was warmed up and that everything was on schedule. “Everyone was exhausted by then and we still had to put on an excellent performance for our crowd,” Mia said. “This was a huge pressure, but we fought that fatigue very well and our performance that night was our best yet.”


The Outcome.

The entire event was a success! One band director from another school said, “My school wants to host a competition next year, and we hope it is as good as yours.” One of the judges also took to social media and proclaimed, “the band parents were aces, and any school looking for a competition should come to this location.” The recognition that the team received was well deserved as they worked tirelessly to orchestrate this special event, making it memorable for everyone involved.


Mia said, “I felt like we were making history, starting Music Along The Estrellas anew and making our imprint on this year’s old tradition. It was cool to have alumni and people who’ve been in the community longer than us commend us for putting the show back on at Agua Fria, and it felt nice to be appreciated for all the hard work we had put in to make it happen.”


It was significant that hosting this event went well for numerous reasons. Its success meant that the team would be able to host more competitions in the future and that their winter programs along with next year’s marching season would be funded. Mr. Garcia mentioned that “if this event wasn’t a success, then we probably wouldn’t be allowed to host a competition again. There are always many schools who wish to host an event, but there are a limited number of slots available, and if so if we didn’t nail this, then the opportunity would have been passed elsewhere.” With this knowledge, the team felt a lot of pressure and planned for every single small detail, losing sleep over the entire event. Furthermore, hosting this competition was a great opportunity in getting the AFHS band back on the map. Thus, making the team more respectable and legitimate in the eyes of the judges and band directors alike. Thankfully, their hard work and dedication made everything worthwhile, as well as gaining the proper recognition that they deserved.


Having done this amazing accomplishment, Mr. Garcia had this to say: “As a band director, I have never been more proud of a group of students or parents before. Each and every individual came together to put on a high quality event. I am so very proud of every person who contributed to making this event the success that it was.”

photo credit: Mia Hules


The Future.

“Looking forward to next season, the band is going to be stronger than it’s ever been. We’ve laid such a strong and positive foundation this year for this season’s rookies to grow and learn to become excellent marchers and musicians come next season,” Mia commented.


Although the Agua Fria Marching Band had many outstanding achievements, there are still always some things to improve on. Coming forward, there is no doubt that the team will surely be putting in the work to better themselves and reach greater heights, setting the future for this wonderful program.


That being said, the Marching Band’s season is coming to a close end and the winter percussion along with the color guard teams will be starting soon. The band will also be expected to be performing at basketball games, just like they do on football and another big event to look forward to is the Christmas concert that will be held in December. Go, show your school spirit, and support the teams this winter season!


If you are interested in joining the band but are still uncertain if it is for you, it is highly encouraged that you give it a chance! No experience needed as new recruits will be taught how to play and how to march. “More than 90% of the band stays year after year because it is such an incredible experience,” Mr. Garcia claimed. You never know, trying something new might bring you more enjoyment in high school in addition to forming supportive relationships with teammates and being part of a team. 


Throughout all his years of experience in band and in the words of Mr. Garcia: “It is life changing.”