Thundering Herd finishes second at Arcadia

Samyuktha Vellaiyan, Staff Writer

Though ending its three-year overall sweepstakes winning streak, Diamond Bar High School’s Thundering Herd placed second overall at the 64th Annual Arcadia Festival of Bands on Nov. 18.

Marching band won first place in its division, 0.05 points behind the Riverside Kingsmen. With a score of 488, Diamond Bar received High Music Sweepstakes as well as the John Philip Sousa Award, which comes with a prize of $5,000. The Thunder Herd also received Auxiliary Sweepstakes, with a score of 97.70, a new record for colorguard.

“I was nervous before the competition, since it’s not only the last, but also the biggest. After, I was just happy,” senior drum major Ethan Holmes said via Facebook. “The season was over, and it was time to celebrate a good season.”

Preparation for the parade started at the beginning of the school year. According to junior drum major Aaron Tamura, who placed 19th in the military drum major division, the Thundering Herd practiced every Tuesday and Thursday with the full group, but the majority of their progress was made during their extra practice sessions.

“We each prepared in our own ways to raise up the abilities out the group as a whole,” Tamura said via Facebook. “It was a truly satisfying performance and no score could take away the accomplishment we felt from our blood, sweat and tears expended this season.”

According to Holmes, making everyone’s primary focus on marching band was one of the major accomplishments of this year.

“We didn’t have our marching director as much as previous years to help us with the technique, but everyone was able to work their hardest in every rehearsal, and we had a lot of great players and marchers in the block,” Holmes said.

Tamura stressed that winning every band review is not the band’s top priority.

“This is of course an important competition to each and everyone of us, but winning isn’t nearly everything for us,” Tamura said. “Winning is truly a matter of who has a better day the time of the competition and does not reflect the success that we’ve had as a group to become the best that we can be. Win or lose, nothing could change how we felt, so the parade was more of a celebration and less of importance to our group.”