It's hard to top an appearance in the Fiesta Bowl Parade, but the Kingman High School Marching Band may do just that this year, as it has already cracked the top 10 high school bands in the state.
This past weekend, the band performed at the Arizona Band and Orchestra Directors Association's State Marching Festival and absolutely nailed it. The band came away with a Superior with Distinction, the highest rating available. Additionally, the band swept five captions - individual aspects of the band - by outscoring other bands in music performance, visual performance, general effect, color guard and presentation.
"The season's been great," said Michael Schreiber, the school's director of bands. "There's been consistent improvement all year."
Despite not being able to practice outside for a month because of late-summer storms, the students have worked like crazy and made the most of their time, Schreiber said.
In many ways, the success this year doubles down on the band's success last year. This is a testament to the returning students, who were newbies last year, continuing to push the band forward, he said.
"They're hard workers," he said. "They lead by example, and they're really strong."
The 12 seniors who moved on from the band last year were replaced by 12 freshmen this year.
Although they were a little raw and overwhelmed with the band's intensity to start the year, they've fallen into the band's routine and are fitting in nicely, he said.
"We have a high level of expectations," he said.
Those expectations can scare some kids off, but this freshman class hasn't given up, Schreiber said.
As one of the top 10 bands in the state, the KHS Marching Band gets to perform Saturday at the State Marching Band Championship at Glendale Community College.
This is the third time in the four years the Championship has been around that the Kingman band made it in. Last year's band fell short.
"We're just focused on continuing to improve and giving our best effort," Schreiber said. "It's an honor just to be top 10."
Of the 10 bands competing Saturday, all but the KHS Marching Band come from either Phoenix or Tucson. There's a huge disparity in money, travel time and resources when one compares KHS to these other schools, Schreiber said.
"This is a big source of pride in the community," he said.
The Championship isn't the only show the band has scheduled for the week.
It's performing a free, open-to-the-public marching exhibition at 6 p.m. today at KHS, 4182 Bank St.
Those in the community who haven't seen the band perform a complete show and can't make it down south for the championship performance can witness the award-winning, parade-marching band in action.
"It's always a pleasure working with these kids," Schreiber said. "I'd love for people to come out and see them perform."