Tooting our own horn

By Jared Watson, Better than David Rappe

Underclassmen and symphonic band don’t normally mix.  In 6A competitions, the best in Oregon are pitted against one another, and this rarely leaves room for newer players.  At Cleveland however, our top band is embracing the younger members in its ranks.  

Band teacher Gary Riler is attempting to produce a future for Cleveland’s band that previously didn’t look possible, through the fog of a constant rotation of teachers, shortage of members, and lack of funding.  For the first time in many years, state seems within our grasp, after a triumph at Western Oregon and an upcoming competition that could propel us straight to state.  

Judging on the current trajectory, we’re only a few small steps from state.  At a recent competition at Western Oregon University, we mopped the floor with the scores, getting solid numbers from all three judges.  An average band needs two scores above 75, but surprise, our lowest score was a 78.  This means that we need only to send in an excellent audition tape, and we’re on our way to state.  Not only this, but our next competition, PIL, will give us an automatic pass into the state competition if we win.  Asking around, the band agrees that, while we are a cut above the other PPS bands, it will be a hard win, as many bands funnel thousands of dollars into their band program, hoping it will allow them to beat such raw talents as Cleveland’s symphonic band.

As state approaches, we talked to some members of the symphonic band.  Alex Lindgren-Ruby, a trombone player, says that, as good as they are this year, state is really a toss up.  The next two years are looking up however, as there are only six seniors in the band, and so a small loss, because most of our players are staying.  This means that the freshmen and sophomores are getting two more years of experience in symphonic band than the traditional student.