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Band-related programs are seeing an increase in members for the last three years

As football games fill our stadiums to the brink, another grand mass of people is brewing, not in the student section but next to it in the Marching Band area.

The Marching Band and many other band-related programs, such as color guard and Jazz band, have been seeing a surge in members after not having many students since the 2000s. Middle school band director Santino Galvan said that the 2015-16 school year had “approximately 55 students enrolled for the following year.” Marching Band members are starting to take notice of this increase and are taking advantage of it. 

“We’re going to start doing competitions and that’s…a big change [since] we haven’t been doing them since COVID…” said Drum Major Bethney Lemon. “…we can start doing drills because we only did one field show [at one] football game last year.” 

Current Band Director Humberto Cera has been using the increase of band members to “[compete] in “The Roar” field show tournament in SLO in November,” and also do more drill – moving on the field while playing – this year.

Band members are also noticing the increase of band members and are growing happy from the occasion. 

…for me, I was in beginning band. So I had four people and going to a band with…thirty-forty-ish people…gives you more opportunities to have friends…[and] expand on the friendships you already have,” Sophomore Darian Lamar said,”…it makes me happy that new people are taking an interest in music and instruments.”

Darian Lamar

We’re seeing an apparent increase in the marching band, but what caused the dip in the first place? Talking to Galvan, the band has seen a decrease in students in the past due to drastic changes in high school band directors and other factors such as low/no funding from the school district, and the pandemic. The band directors for Paso High have been changed three times in the past five years now and Galvan believes that a change is starting to show. 

“One director stayed for two years, then the following director was there for one year, and the current director is currently in their 3rd year. So the beginning of the culture change should start to be seen.” said Galvan as he describes a cultural shift happening after a band director has stayed in the same position for at least three years. 

 Marching Band has seen a 55% increase in band members since the 2020-21 school year to now, but it isn’t the only band-related area that got a surge in members, with Jazz Band and Color Guard also having their fair share of member increases. Jazz Band has seen an increase of 75% since the 2020-21 school year to now and Color Guard had an increase of eight students (take into account there were previously only two members only two years prior). The marching band, jazz band, and colorguard have all seen fluctuations in their membership, but this year seems to be a good year for all of them.

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