Thundering Herd cements legacy

Taking up the mantle from their victorious seasons in 2018 and 2019, Diamond Bar High School’s Thundering Herd made its return on Nov. 20–stealing the show after a year-long break from competing. 

Their stellar performance manifested in the form of outstanding scores at the 68th Annual Arcadia Festival of Bands. The Brahmas scored 96.20 for the in-band sweepstakes, 96.70 in auxiliary and 482 in music. The results earned them another undefeated season and surpassed their 2018 and 2019 scores. 

In addition to committing two hours of their Tuesdays and Thursdays to sectional practices, Thundering Herd members attended after school practices the entire week leading up to the event, committing to a three-hour rehearsal on Veterans Day. 

“We put a lot of emphasis on the amount of effort people were contributing in practice and in the performance,” junior Joseph Wangsa said. “It’s a good way to justify that any result we get can be considered a good result and I think that helped relieve some stress people may have had about keeping our win streak going.”

As the competition drew closer, the marching band’s focus shifted from the overall look of the band to members’ individual capabilities. Along with the marching technique, band directors Steve Acciani and Marie Santos reviewed musical techniques by working in-depth with each section, going over their pitch, style, intonation and releases while playing.

“I think all of us worked really hard leading up to the event and it was really gratifying seeing all of the work we put in come to fruition. In my opinion, a lot of us were happy with the way we performed and I have to thank all the practice we put into our routine for that,” Wangsa said.

Performing alongside the marching band, color guard also put in substantial work to receive a high score at the competition. Alongside their regular schedule, they incorporated more challenging moves to garner better ratings including spinning the rifle six times or spinning the flag twice in the air.

The group chose to start preparing for the competition two to three months preceding the event and, aside from adding in the new tricks, concentrated on polishing their routine. 

“Our recent practices were more focused on cleaning our routine, staying consistent and building endurance. It was a lot more tiring, but I think it was all worth it in the end,” senior Aiah Valera said. “We’re incredibly happy with our results and I think we performed outstandingly well. It’s all thanks to the practice we put in and the positive attitude we had. It was a competition, but I think being surrounded by amazing and supportive people felt like we were just performing for ourselves and not the judges.”