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Posted October 28, 2014

Atrisco Heritage Academy Marching Band Takes The Stage

Jaguars compete in their first-ever marching band festival.

Drum Major Sergio Lara conducts the band during a rehearsal.

The Atrisco Heritage Academy Jaguar marching band took to the competition field -- for the first time ever -- this past weekend.

"We have worked really hard to get to this moment, and I know we are ready," said Band Director Christina Young before their first public performance at the Valencia Classic Marching Festival in Los Lunas, NM. 

Atrisco Heritage has had a band program since the school was founded in 2008, but this was only the second year that the school has had a marching band.

"When I was hired to be the band director, one of the expectations from Principal (Antonio) Gonzales was that we establish a marching band program," said Young. "And, so we did."

During the band's first year, the Jaguars learned to march, play and perform together. Young said they needed a year before they were competition ready.

"We had to start from the basics," said Drum Major Sergio Lara, a senior. "Last year, when we began training for marching band season, we all were learning how to march, and play, and memorize music. I know that other schools might have a different advantage because they have upper- classmen who can assist the younger students; we didn't have that. We've been learning together."

The band has grown from 36 students in its first year to more than 50 who took the field Saturday.

"The kids have really found a home in our band program, and I'm proud of that," said Young. "For many of these students, band is the reason they come to school. They eat lunch in the band room, and hang out together before and after practices."

The Jaguars even have their own mantra: 'Band is love. Band is life.'

Young hopes to expand the program, noting that AHA is one of the only high schools in APS that has a beginning band class.

When asked how the Jaguars did in their first marching festival, Young proudly exclaimed, "They did really well!"

2014 Jaguar Scores from the Valencia Classic

Music Performance- Excellent
Visual Performance- Excellent
Overall Effect- Superior
Total- Excellent

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