Las Cruces Magazine

Fall/Winter 2015-16

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"Our number one goal is to help students experience life through music. Commitment is necessary. You have to start and finish the job," says Shawn Silva. Under his directorship for the past 12 years, the Oñate band has seen remarkable growth and success, as evidenced by the several state champi- onships they've earned in recent years. Today, the program counts 188 members in their marching band, four jazz bands, three concert bands, winter guard, and percussion. Shawn maintains a strict focus on the success of his students, and he notes, with pride, the number of band members who have gone onto col- lege with full band scholarships. The students are held to high academic standards with almost 80 percent enrolled in AP courses. Many are also involved in sports and other arts programs like choir and theater. Shawn's teaching strategy involves bringing in professional musicians and directors to give the students further guidance, and maintaining a healthy focus on a well-rounded music program. "It's not just the march- ing band," Shawn notes, "we also have year-round concert and jazz bands. We have fantastic color guard and percussion instructors. We do a com- bined show with the theater department each year. We take part in four to five marching competitions every year, and each April, we host a large jazz festival. There's an appreciation for all the work the kids put in." Mayfield High School Trojan Marching Band Mayfield boasts one of the longest-running band departments in the city, beginning with the school's open- ing in the 1950s. Under the long directorship of Ross Ramsay, the band program won numerous awards and sent countless stu- dents on to respected university band programs. Today, Carlos Aguero directs the band program. Last year was his first at Mayfield, but he logged 15 years at Aztec High School in northern New Mexico and another 10 at Las Cruces High School. The band currently consists of about 85 extremely dedicated students. "We're small, but we're mighty," Carlos says. "We had a great year. All our per- formances were heavily praised." This past year, Mayfield made it to the Tournament of Bands finals, and in district- wide contests, the concert band scored straight ones, the top score. The school also boasts a healthy jazz band program, color and winter guards, smaller ensembles, and a fully dedicated staff of pro- fessionals and parent volunteers. Carlos hopes to take his students traveling this year, with some ten- tative performances planned in California. "I just focus on our group," Carlos says. "There's competition, sure, but our goal is to be our best. It's all about the chemistry of the kids. They work toward a high-caliber performance every day." Mayfield High School Trojan Marching Band Oñate High School Royal Knight Regiment Marching Band |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| Fall/Winter Edition 2015-16 I 87

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