The drums began, the horns followed and an outpour of cheers drowned any side conversations as William S. Hart High School’s Hart Regiment band and color guard marched into Cougar Stadium.
Hart High organized its 37th annual Rampage at College of the Canyons on Saturday after being unable to host last year due to COVID-19. More than 22 high schools from across Los Angeles County participated in the second competition of the marching band season — including the host, Hart High School, as well as Valencia High, Castaic High, Canyon High, Golden Valley High, West Ranch High and Saugus High.
“I’m anticipating a good performance,” said Anthony Bailey, department chair of music and director of Hart Regiment. “It’s an important night for us, but I feel like the kids are ready, and they all know the mechanical stuff, so they just have to let loose a bit and perform.”
Hart high seniors Noah Uno and Anthony Orocco are Regiment members and they were excited about their performances.
“I’m proud to be a part of this band,” said Uno, who plays the baritone and trombone. “I am thankful to everything I can be that we have a marching season this year. I appreciate Rampage and, pretty much how, over my high school years, Rampage has become a holiday for me.”
Orocco, who plays the clarinet, said he was introduced to marching band by his two older sisters who were members of color guard. He said he liked the people and the environment, and he’s glad that he joined Regiment for his four years of high school.
“I was excited that we were going to host Rampage,” Orocco said. “Even more than the social aspect, the band allowed me to talk to so many people who are into band and play different instruments. You get to enjoy life and enjoy music.”
Paola Tuchan, a chair for Rampage, said they usually start organizing and planning in July. However, it’s been a special year due to COVID-19, and when L.A. County authorized events, they did everything in 30 days.
“This is Hart High’s biggest fundraiser,” Tuchan said. “The event helps the kids compete in different events, funds new instruments and the whole program.”
Michelle Henry, the Rampage raffle chair, said many of the big corporations that usually support Rampage backed off this year because of COVID-19. However, the event was supported by a number of small businesses.
“It’s been a rough year for the band because we weren’t able to fundraise last year,” Henry said. “A lot of people don’t realize your tax dollars don’t fund the marching band program. We’ve been helping to raise money for a long time for bands. It’s part of our culture.”
West Ranch High School received the sweepstakes award – which meant judges declared them as the overall winner of band competition.
Bailey noted that since Hart High hosted Rampage, they wouldn’t receive any awards, but the points from Saturday’s performance would be vital on their competitive journey.
“The band competition (scoring) is a little weird,” Bailey said. “We have division awards, and we also won overall with sweepstakes awards (during the Valencia High Field Tournament). That felt great that your work is recognized and I think the kids have proven themselves this year.”
After Rampage, all bands and color guards will have a week off, but the competition season continues the following week. Bailey said his students will take the time to refine their show and make final changes.
Rampage is an important event for students, but also a night of community, he added.
“It’s amazing how every parent has stepped up and their willingness to help out with anything,” Bailey. “And all of our alumni that have stepped up too. We’ve established a small and great community at Hart.”