The drums began, the horns followed and a wave of cheers drowned out all side conversations as the band and color guard of the Hart Regiment of William S. Hart High School marched into Cougar Stadium.
Hart High held its 37th annual Rampage at the College of the Canyons on Saturday after being unable to accommodate last year due to COVID-19. More than 22 Los Angeles County high schools participated in the second marching band competition of the season – including the host, Hart High School, as well as Valencia High, Castaic High, Canyon High, Golden Valley High, West Ranch High and Saugus Haute.
“I expect a good performance,” said Anthony Bailey, director of the music department and director of the Hart Regiment. “It’s an important night for us, but I feel like the kids are ready, and they know all the mechanical stuff, so they just have to let go a little bit and perform.”
Hart High Seniors Noah Uno and Anthony Orocco are members of the regiment and they were thrilled with their performances.
“I’m proud to be a part of this band,” said Uno, who plays baritone and trombone. “I am grateful to all I can be that we have a walking season this year. I enjoy Rampage and pretty much how during my high school years Rampage became a holiday for me.
Orocco, who plays the clarinet, said he was introduced to the marching band by his two older sisters who were members of the Color Guard. He said he loved the people and the environment, and he is happy to have joined the Regiment for his four years of high school.
“I was delighted that we were going to host Rampage,” said Orocco. “Even more than the social aspect, the band allowed me to talk to so many people who love the band and play different instruments. You can enjoy life and enjoy music.
Paola Tuchan, a president of Rampage, said they usually start organizing and planning in July. However, it was a special year due to COVID-19, and when LA County cleared the events, they did it all in 30 days.
“This is Hart High’s biggest fundraiser,” Tuchan said. “The event helps children participate in different events, funds new instruments and the whole program.”
Michelle Henry, the president of the Rampage raffle, said many large companies that usually support Rampage have retreated this year due to COVID-19. However, the event was supported by a number of small businesses.
“It has been a difficult year for the group because we weren’t able to fundraise last year,” said Henry. “A lot of people don’t realize that your tax dollars don’t fund the marching band program. We have a long history of helping fundraising for groups. It’s part of our culture.
West Ranch High School received the competition prize – meaning the judges declared them the winners of the group competition.
Bailey noted that since Hart High hosted Rampage they would not receive any awards, but points from Saturday’s performance would be essential to their competitive run.
“The group’s competition (scoring) is a little weird,” Bailey said. “We have division prizes, and we also won prizes in the competition (at the High Field tournament in Valencia). It was great that your work was recognized and I think the kids have proven their worth this year.
After Rampage, all groups and color guards will have a week off, but the competitive season continues the following week. Bailey said his students will take the time to refine their show and make the final changes.
Rampage is an important event for students, but also a night of community, he added.
“It’s amazing how each parent came together and their willingness to help with anything,” Bailey. “And all of our alumni who have also stepped up. We have established a small and large community in Hart.