Eagle Band looks to the future

(VHA Photo | LM)
(VHA Photo | LM)

It is said that the only thing constant is change. The members of the Soaring Eagle Band at Van Horn High School can certainly attest to that. Once again, a new band director greeted them at the Band Hall on the first day of school. Band Director David M. DeLuca brings 26 years of teaching experience to the Eagles this year. He has worked in small towns around Texas and was most recently the Director of Bands at Hallettsville High School in South Central Texas.

“I am very excited to join the Van Horn family of educators,” Mr. DeLuca said. “I am committed to helping these young people achieve their musical goals and even go beyond.”

The year started with a few challenges. Mr. DeLuca joined the Culberson County – Allamoore ISD staff in mid-August, so summer band rehearsals were largely a bust. The first football game was the first week of school and, due to a new class schedule, that game was the first time the entire band was assembled in one place.

“One of the striking things about the Soaring Eagle Band is how extremely busy the students are,” said DeLuca. Nearly all the high school cheerleaders, including the Eagle mascot, are in the band. These ladies show lots of hustle as they cheer on the track and then run up to the bleachers to perform a song or two with the band. Mr. DeLuca added, “I am so proud of the dedication the students show to all their activities, including band, cheerleading, and sports.” Fourteen eighth grade band members help take up the musical slack when the high school students have run off to cheer or, in one case, score an Eagle touchdown.

The centerpiece of the fall semester for the Soaring Eagle Band is the University Interscholastic League’s Region 22 Marching Contest. Even though the Eagles are Region 22’s only band in class 2A, the students know how important it is to do well at this event. This past Saturday, the Soaring Eagle Band attended their marching band contest at the Socorro Student Activity Center. The band is excited to announce that they have advanced to the UIL Area A Marching Contest. The Eagles are proud to represent Van Horn and the Big Bend region of West Texas in this prestigious event. The Area marching contest will take place on Saturday, October 27, at Dick Bivins Stadium in Amarillo. The band’s performance time will be available next week.

Drum Major Viviana Sanchez said, “I’m excited to get to play again and show everyone our music.” Hays Morriss, the Percussion Section Leader, said, “Last year was supposed to be the last advancing year for the Class of 2019, but they changed the rules so that we have one more chance. That’s pretty cool.”

The band will also continue its unwavering support for the Eagle football team as they continue their campaign into district play and the postseason. Following football season, the band will prepare for their annual winter concert. That performance, featuring bands from grades six through twelve, will take place in the Karen D. Young Memorial Auditorium on Thursday, December 13. The concert will begin at 7:00 p.m.

In the spring, members of the band will prepare for the UIL Solo and Ensemble Contest. This event, held in February, allows the band students to show their individual talents. Some students may even qualify to go to the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest held in May in Austin.

Also in the spring, the band will be preparing for UIL Concert and Sight-Reading Contest. The band will prepare three pieces to perform in a concert for the judges. They will also learn how to sight-read music effectively so that they can show that skill to the judges. Mr. DeLuca will have seven minutes to teach the students a piece of music they have never seen. The band will then execute a flawless performance of that piece. It is an exciting process to watch.

The members of the Soaring Eagle Band are led by Drum Major Viviana Sanchez and Percussion Section Leader Hays Morriss. The flute section is made up of Giselle Hernandez, Ashlee Robinson, Siarah Rullan, Hunter Shipp, Samantha Soto, and Makayla Torres. Clarinet players are Annika Corrales, Marissa De la O, Amaurice Herrera, and K’Dee Romero. Playing saxophone are Daniel Arrazate and Gilberto Velez. The trumpet section has Isela Bermudez, Ivette Bermudez, Alexia Calderon, Jadyn Corrales, Daisy De la O, Marissa Dominguez, Destiny Rivera, Israel Tarango, Tanya Tarango, and Ruby Valdez. The baritone players are Cheyanne Rey and Maria Sanchez. The drumline includes Gracie Alvarado, Izmar Flores, Elijah Gaines, Caleb Hinojos, Ethan Hinojos, Geydy Santos, Myra Ramirez, David Seijas, and Aliyah Zubia.