Cheer on the marching Mustangs

GILROY
– More than 1,000 high schoolers will rumble Saturday night on
the Gilroy High gridiron, by way of music and marching, that
is.
GILROY – More than 1,000 high schoolers will rumble Saturday night on the Gilroy High gridiron, by way of music and marching, that is. If the Mustang Band and Color Guard takes first in their class, it will mark the third consecutive field performance competition won by Gilroy High’s 54-member marching corps this fall.

“We may be finishing in first place, but it just means we were the best band that day,” said Joey Fortino, the band director at GHS now in his sixth year.

The Mustangs are performing to music by Danny Elfman that he scored for the movies “Beetlejuice” and “Nightmare Before Christmas.” Elfman is the former leader of New Wave band “Oingo Boingo.” His music has twice been nominated for an Oscar.

“We’ve put in a fourth piece of music that we’ll be playing for the first time Saturday. It kind of adds a nice strong period to our show,” Fortino said.

Organized by the Western Band Association, which puts on eight field shows during fall semester, the event is the 10th such competition hosted locally in recent years. The competition will run from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26. Tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for seniors and students.

Fortino said field shows have been particularly competitive this year. Some of the stiffest competition for the Mustangs on Saturday, Fortino figures, will come from Clayton Valley High School.

The Mustangs compete in the Class A division for bands with 60 members or less. Other divisions are Class AA, 61 to 100 members; Class AAA, 101-140 members; and Class AAAA, 141 or more members.

“There are some quality bands out there. The scores have been really close,” Fortino said.

Scores are compiled by eight judges evaluating separate categories, from overall music effectiveness and music performance to individual marching technique and instrument play.

“Judges try to be educationally-based when they evaluate us. They add elements of teaching when they critique the kids so we can play their taped comments afterward. There’s always a lot to improve on,” Fortino said.

GHS has yet to take an overall first place in competition this year.

Championships will be held Nov. 23 in San Diego. Saturday’s show is one of several precursors to that event.

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