Alan Irons Review: 2016 BOA Long Beach FINALS

Topics and polls that cover the overall marching band activity

Moderators: malletphreak, Hostrauser, instrumental director, Trumpet Man 05

Post Reply
Posts: 690
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2003 9:10 pm

Alan Irons Review: 2016 BOA Long Beach FINALS

Post by airons0678 » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:48 pm


Bands of America Regional Championships presented by YAMAHA
Long Beach City College
Long Beach, CA
October 29, 2016

Such a long line to one skinny entrance gate. It was BOA Finals time again, and you know what that means: good band after good band. You had what was arguably the best bands of northern California (Clovis West, Saratoga, Homestead) taking on what was arguably the best bands of southern California (Vista Murrieta, Ayala). Oh, and we can't forget the Arizona state champions, Desert Vista. Covina High School did an admirable job of hosting this contest with Music for All, and had a small brass ensemble kick things of with the National Anthem. Neither Dr. Tim Lautzenheiser nor Eric Martin could join us this evening to give us tips on how to be the best audience, so Dan Potter filled the role (from the announcer's booth, since getting a mic downstairs was not feasible), and Dan was more than qualified. Also, big thumbs up to Dan for going over the resumes of all the judges BEFORE the finals show began, and not done between bands like it was done up in San Jose. (Good call!) There were no exhibition bands this evening as all the Regional Class Champions made finals (except Class A, since there were no competitors in Class A).

Here are my thoughts on how the night went:

Savanna H.S.
Anaheim, CA
Repertoire: "Weight of the World," including 1. "Weight of the World," 2. "Longing to Live," and 3. "Atlas Shrugged"
Comments: A very large inflated prop of planet earth sat atop a geodesic dome. A line of these domes ran up the 50. I really like the expressive carrying of the domes by the marchers, portraying burden. The voiceover reflects this, too. They crafted their sounds well. Yeah, they brought the thrill this evening. What a dark, depressing themse for a field show. Nevetheless, they "carried it" well. Nice, magical moment with the dome props stacked in an artistic way, followed by some solid air flow and drums, drums, drums. Ooh, don't get lost, brass. Yeah, they kept up the momentum. The end of their show seemed a bit brief and not that lofty as I think they would have preferred. However, I am glad to see the marked improvement from prelims to finals.
My Score: 67.40
My Placement: 9th
Actual Score: 74.20
Actual Placement: 8th

Chino Hills H.S.
Chino Hills, CA
Repertoire: "Chakras"
Comments: Ladies and gentlemen, the Chino Hills drumline, sponsored by YAMAHA. So good! Just hearing the drums warm up indicated to me that they would have no issues tonight. There appeared to be a mic problem on the flautist, so there was a small delay fixing that before the show started. The worshipping beginning with the sweet sounds of the flute and the roll of the bass drums delivered. There was a melodic theme to their show that popped up here and there. (It almost sounded like Neil Diamond's "Coming to America.") Superior, woodwind ensembles. Superior. The break out into dance section--rad! They know how to jam. Well done, sabers, and when it counted, too. The electric guitar, the hot purple battery, and the complimentary wind player's utilization of the clapsticks was all terrific. I enjoyed their product. It was a bit cold in terms of a story, or something to relate to. But technically? Proficient.
My Score: 71.30
My Placement: 8th
Actual Score: 77.45
Actual Placement: 6th

Upland H.S.
Upland, CA
Repertoire: RISE
Comments: Simple white chair props outlined the wind players in a circular, spiraling formation within. The guard had one foot on the chair, and one foot on the ground. The trumpet in the distance was heard somewhat, now, and no a better amplified solo, the soloist walking across a line of chairs, one placed before the other by the auxiliary. What a great, full sound from all the players. Beautiful work, girls surrounding the lush sounding soloist on baritone. Way to keep up the drama. The ballad went on and on and enticed. Too long? Maybe just long enough. Crazy acrobatics by one guard girl, cartwheeling after a vertical rifle one-handed toss-up (and catch!). Marvelous. This is the Upland band. of course!
My Score: 73.90
My Placement: 6th
Actual Score: 73.65
Actual Placement: 9th

Saratoga H.S.
Saratoga, CA
Repertoire: Repertoire: "En Garde," including "Sleeping Beauty Waltz" by Pyotr Tchaikovsky," "Piano Concerto No. 2" by Sergei Rachmaninoff, original music by Frank Sullivan
Comments: Their uniforms of red, white, and black almost looked patriotic. A line of girls in white lined up on the 50, and others, in the corners of the field on high platforms, appeared ready to fence. Ah, velvety horn soloist. Excellent swoop of feet, balance in sound, and accents from the guard. As controlled as the brass seemed to be, there were a few loose sections. The tuba doubling in the pit was unappologetic, hahaha, ya'think? Okay, we'll call it a "string section." (I just don't like things to get in the way of good things.) Lots of great things were going on in this show of theirs--too many to count. Solid, fundamental portrayal of theme and how it all ties together.
My Score: 74.30
My Placement: 5th
Actual Score: 75.55
Actual Placement: 7th

Los Osos H.S.
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Repertoire: "Over the Moon"
Comments: I liked the backdrops with the moon photos, but at night, from where I was sitting (lower deck), the glare from the stadium lights were too much. Tubas, stop moving. I know you're just about to be announced into competition, but maintain a professional poise. These kids seemed to have their notes down pat, but they need to do better on the whole. The direction of motion marching by the trumpets revealed a lot of inadequacies. These guys did not seem to hit all their spots in the drill. Rush, rush, get there. They made what they were doing look too hard. Practice, guys! More practice. Really shape that shape-able "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" melody, folks. Ooh. Well. Lots of beauty. But ugly in there, too. There was a lack of maturity in music and visual, and in regards to effect: not enough.
My Score: 63.90
My Placement: 10th
Actual Score: 72.00
Actual Placement: 10th

Desert Vista H.S.
Phoenix, AZ
Repertoire: "ANThology," music from Bill Conti, Raymond Scott, and Hans Zimmer
Comments: The most clever, elaborate prop of the night goes to this group, who "dresses up" a slide with a tarp in a conical way, giving the appearance of an ant hill you can slide down or climb up. Guard members slide down the slide to marching music. Shakey start, I felt. The woodwinds and pit got things back into place, though. Dramatic decrescendos, perfect. The jazzy dance, drumline drum rack rock, and rifle catch plus head tilt makes you want to nod your head in agreement. They are good. Ooh, a tuba player seemed to take a spill or drop his horn. I heard it, first, before I saw it. Pretty good revival. The plume trick from black to red plumes was slick...and sparkling red bibs now, too, I see! Fire ants? Trump players atop the ant hill slide down one at a time. Excellent work, and imaginative!
My Score: 72.00
My Placement: 7th
Actual Score: 80.10
Actual Placement: 5th

Ayala H.S.
Chino Hills, CA
Repertoire: "Shattered," including I. "The Mirror," II. "The First Shard," III. "The Search for More," IV. "Promenade," V. "The Mend," VI. "Back Home"
Comments: At first glance the props don't make sense. Bright, flowery looking backdrops? These medieval swing looking things? Multi-flat-screen TVs reflecting a Lady-Gaga-like performer? Well, let's see! Pop music is faded, leaving an accelerating heartbeat. Excellent shattering glass sound effect, moving into chaotic sounds and visual. The uplifting melody that seems to make its way out is welcome, and then back to the crazy...crazy good, that is. You can tell the brass spent long hours learning those long strings of notes. My attention seems to be here and there. Do I look at the screens way to my left, or the sling-shot thingies? And every once in a while I am blinded by the shard, ha ha! Nicely played, musicians, as two shards are combined to make one shard. What a strong, strong ending. Protein shot! Wowzers.
My Score: 79.60
My Placement: 3rd
Actual Score: 85.25
Actual Placement: 2nd

Vista Murrieta H.S.
Murrieta, CA
Repertoire: "Cinders," music from "Cinderella Suite" by Sergei Prokofiev
Comments: They had a lot a lot a lot of black metal "gate" props they rolled in and lined the front of the field with. They had some near the back of the field, too. Clock props, fashioned into humam-sized wheels--two treads, helped tell the story of "day after long day," regarding Cinderella. Massive sound. Wall...of...sound. Playful sounds designed well, and sharp handling of the rifles/sabers, put this group way out in front. Way to follow through, flags, after the phrase is finished--a nice touch. Someone trapped in the clock prop gets rocked, me nuts, but could we roll that thing with the person inside there? Too dangerous? Go all out! (If I'm not mistaken, I believe Bellbrook did it several years ago. Arm-and-shoulder linking motion worked out. Ah, there is some rolling action with the gold wheel, but no one went upside-down in there. Sinister, percussion! Finish it! This band was like a big pipe organ. A big reveal, complete with Cinderella actress and a Prince actor seemingly proposing to her with her glass slipper is majestic.
My Score: 82.80
My Placement: 1st
Actual Score: 86.80
Actual Placement: 1st

Homestead H.S.
Cupertino, CA
Repertoire: "Zero," including "Overture" by Bjork, "Symphony No. 5 Movements II and IV" by Sergei Rachmaninov, "Winter" from the Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi, and "Adagio for Strings" by Samuel Barber
Comments: I like how negative space is used, clumps here, there, and everywhere. Wind players emerge from and encircle the prop highlighting the concert horn soloist. The mellophones were locked in. Ooh, careful with that sound, people. Gentle! Rifles, that was "eh." And now the mellophones? It just sounds...behind! (Maybe an adjustment in staging would have helped them out?) The ominous ice cracking sound weaved into the frantic music was proper. Thank you, staging experts: there is a white "zero" hula hoop made to stand out from all else held out atop a moving platform. Agadio for Dummies, ha ha! Then, drum break! Then...back to Adagio, more lovely this go 'round. They wrapped up their show with theme refreshers, and there's that "zero" hoop again, tossed just right so it rolls and then comes to rest as sounds fade to silence. Way to go, Homestead.
My Score: 78.00
My Placement: 4th
Actual Score: 80.80
Actual Placement: 3rd

Clovis West H.S.
Fresno, CA
Repertoire: "Rhapsody," featuring "Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in Concert C-sharp minor" by Franz Liszt
Comments: "Piano man!!" Someone from the stands yelled this. This band has such great support. Very nice to see. As they were being announced into competition, piano notes rang out as if we were about to get schooled. Great natural space between breath/impact, musicians. It was as if I was at a concert recital. They made it look so effortless. Also, they could probably win alone with their uniforms, which fit the theme and what modern marching band is. Seamless transitions. A+. Tubas were in a galaxy all their own, and owned it! Ha! They're playing with us. Too good. Very good. Very, very good. They play the BOA game SO well.
My Score: 81.20
My Placement: 2nd
Actual Score: 80.55
Actual Placement: 4th

[End of Finals Performances]

I was more entertained by the evening performances than I was by the daytime performances. Most of the bands seemed to get their act together. Unfortunately, I think that if the daytime performances were stronger the evening performances would have been, too. (In other words, had Saratoga and Savanna not dropped the ball in prelims I think they would have done better in finals. Nevertheless, both bands did have better finals runs, I believe.)

My Scores
1. 82.89 Vista Murrieta H.S., CA
2. 81.20 Clovis West H.S., CA
3. 79.60 Ayala H.S., CA
4. 78.00 Homestead H.S., CA
5. 74.30 Saratoga H.S., CA
6. 73.90 Upland H.S., CA
7. 72.00 Desert Vista H.S., AZ
8. 71.30 Chino Hills H.S., CA
9. 67.40 Savanna H.S., CA
10. 63.90 Los Osos H.S., CA

Visual - Vista Murrieta H.S., CA
Music - Vista Murrieta H.S., CA
G.E. - Clovis West H.S., CA

Actual Scores
1. 86.80 Vista Murrieta H.S., CA
2. 85.25 Ayala H.S., CA
3. 80.80 Homestead H.S., CA
4. 80.55 Clovis West H.S., CA
5. 80.10 Desert Vista H.S., AZ
6. 77.45 Chino Hills H.S., CA
7. 75.55 Saratoga H.S., CA
8. 74.20 Savanna H.S., CA
9. 73.65 Upland H.S., CA
10. 72.00 Los Osos H.S., CA

Visual - Vista Murrieta H.S., CA
Music - Vista Murrieta H.S., CA
G.E. - Vista Murrieta H.S., CA

Vista Murrieta was the best, by far, and will be in the hunt for finals come BOA Grand Nats. They do have some work to do. Ayala will be chasing them, but I think if it came down to these two CA bands, Vista Murrieta makes it in, and Ayala is in the top 20. Clovis West will make the semifinals pretty easily, but has a slim chance beyond that. They have a wonderful show, though--one that you won't soon forget (and might make you hum the music for many days after).

Alan Irons

Post Reply