July 19, 2022
The Silver High School Marching Band has begun training for its first competitive season without the COVID-19 restrictions that have plagued the band for the past two years.
This will also be Band Director Azul Cano’s first year leading during the unrestricted march season, and his third year teaching in the district. In 2020, the Silver High Marching Band was unable to compete at all due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions on live music. In its second year, the marching band competed, but had to follow strict anti-COVID guidelines.
This year, band members can once again practice their music without worrying about keeping 6 feet apart.
“Now it’s like we can actually come in and teach music the way it’s meant to be taught,” Cano said, “like everyone knows how to do it.”
Cano said he thinks fewer restrictions make it easier for everyone involved to focus.
“The band is just fun – especially now that we have Cano,” drum major Daniella Holguin said. “He is a very good group director. Like he made it fun, but he also helped us and wasn’t mean to us.
According to Cano’s roster, 40 students will play in the band over the coming year, a big increase from last year’s total of 23. He said he contacted the Silver High dance team and cheerleaders in hopes of finding five to eight. members of the color guard for the band show.
“Mr. Cano has done an outstanding job with the Fighting Colt Band,” said Claudia Smith, principal of Silver High. “The band is the heart and soul of the school.”
Alongside Cano, drum tech Jon Eichhorn works with the percussion section and serves as assistant director. He became involved with the group during Cano’s second semester in the district.
Cano said recruitment has been a challenge, but he is working on rebuilding the group. He also said he wants his students to “really understand what a marching band is”.
He noted that students at Silver High don’t have as much opportunity to see different marching bands as if they came from a larger community.
“Part of that – at least where I’m from – you can see marching bands all the time. You go to football games everywhere, they’re everywhere,” Cano said.
He explained that this lack of exposure makes it harder for students to feel competitive when preparing for competition.
The group’s show this year is “Día de los Muertos”, created by Randall Standridge, and will focus on elements of traditional Mexican observance. Cano hopes to include sugar skulls, marigolds, altars, papel picado, catwalks and La Catrina in the design of the show.
The entire band camp – which is currently underway – spans three weeks, with the first being dedicated to all band marching and frontline show music, the second to music and to walking and the third to learning exercise for the show.
Group students at Silver High do not have to pay a group fee, although Cano said group members have held several aguas frescas fundraisers throughout the year, with proceeds covering the necessities that a group fee would traditionally cover.
“We like to hang out in the community,” he said. “We also like to help organizations and other activities in the community. We do not isolate ourselves. It’s good for everyone to know that we are there and that we want to participate in the activities.
Cano said he was even open to the group making appearances at various community functions.
This year, the group can also spend the night at competitions again, which means not having to go, compete and return in one day. Cano said this year he plans to take the group to five competitions, up from four last year. With travel restrictions lifted, Cano hopes band members can arrive the day before, relax and practice before each competition.
For more information on the program, Cano can be reached at [email protected]