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News from 2021-2022

Posted: October 19, 2021

1,600 Students in 24 Bands Compete in Annual Pageant of Bands

Congratulations to all APS bands including first-place winners West Mesa and Volcano Vista high schools.

Combining artistry, teamwork, and discipline, marching bands are instrumental in education. The 41st New Mexico Pageant of Bands (POB) took place on Saturday, October 16, and APS brought home a number of awards in this annual competition that draws marching bands from schools across the state.

“The primary purpose of the pageant is to recognize and reward musical excellence, and get helpful evaluations by expert judges from all over the country,” says Vicky Harms, President of New Mexico Pageant of Bands.

Inviting esteemed judges from around the United States allows for a broader range of experience and insight, and ensures impartiality. Judges offer helpful direction and constructive criticism in a positive framework. “The students get a lot of educational feedback,” Harms adds. 

The students are dedicated to their craft, practicing ardently with the aim of always giving a great performance — and especially at this important event.

“Every morning we get up at zero hour, at 6:30, and from 6:30 to 7:15 we’re just like practicing, practicing, learning our show,” says Jordy Anyanonu, flutist and sophomore at Volcano Vista High School. “I’m pretty sure this was the best performance we’ve had,” he says, even before finding out Volcano Vista won first place in their size class.

Watch This Video About the 2021 Pageant of Bands 

Awards for first, second, and third place are provided in each of the five band-size classes, plus outstanding section awards for each class in the following categories: brass, color guard, drum major, percussion, soloist, and woodwinds.

“This has been a wonderful year for my daughter—she’s learned so much,” says Julie Anderson, parent of a Volcano Vista sophomore. “It gives her an outlet for her artistic side, and just having those personal relationships with all of the band members and her teachers, it’s been a great experience.”

POB is a large undertaking, and this year 24 bands totaling around 1,600 students were scheduled to perform. Families of students are highly supportive and heavily involved in making the pageant a success, with more than 200 of them volunteering their time to make the event run smoothly.

“We couldn’t operate if we didn’t have parent volunteers,” Harms says, smiling with gratitude. “Each band provides one volunteer for every four students they have in band, and they work in shifts. It’s great to meet other band parents from other schools. It’s very much a community.”

Michelle Cortez, whose son is a senior at Atrisco Heritage Academy, is a first-time volunteer for the pageant. “The band director asked for help and I volunteered,” she says. “I wanted to support my son. He’s been working so hard, so we’re out here to support him and to support the school. Our band director does a lot and tries as much as she can to try and keep our band fees as low as possible, so it helps out, the more parents who can volunteer, that just helps the program run better.”

New Mexico Pageant of Bands began as an idea in 1979 with two band directors, Steve Means from Del Norte and Warren Alderman from Manzano, who saw the need for a state marching band competition based on band size instead of school size.

The first pageant took place in 1980, with nine bands competing, and has grown steadily over the years. Wilson Stadium has typically been the event’s home, but this year it was hosted by Rio Rancho High School.

Harms, who has served as the POB Co-President in 2010 and President every year since, has a true love for the event, students, families, and others who make it all possible. “Working with a wide variety of people, and meeting everybody, watching the shows, watching the kids, interacting with the band directors—it’s really fun,” she says. “I love this program. It’s a tight-knit community, and everyone is so supportive.”

2021 Awards Won by APS Bands

1A 1st Place: West Mesa

2A 2nd Place: Albuquerque High

      3rd Place: Sandia

3A 1st Place: Volcano Vista

      2nd Place: Manzano

4A 3rd Place: Cibola

5A 2nd Place: Eldorado 

      3rd Place: La Cueva

Outstanding Section Awards

1A Percussion – West Mesa

1A Woodwinds – West Mesa

2A Drum Major – Sandia

2A Percussion – Albuquerque High

3A Brass – Volcano Vista

3A Color Guard – Volcano Vista

3A Drum Major – Volcano Vista

3A Percussion – Volcano Vista

3A People’s Choice – Volcano Vista

3A Soloist – Volcano Vista

3A Woodwinds – Volcano Vista

5A Drum Major – La Cueva

5A Percussion – El Dorado

5A Soloist – La Cueva

5A Woodwinds – La Cueva