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Legacy and History: Hamilton’s Marching Band

A half-time performance during the homecoming game features both the marching band and the color guard show.

Surrounded by the vibrant atmosphere of Hamilton’s bustling AMPA SLC, our marching band has notably elevated the standards and achievements of this year’s student group. After a hiatus due to the pandemic, the marching band has reintroduced the color guard for the first time since 2015. This revival brings back an essential and vibrant element to their performances, adding a new dimension of artistry and flair to their shows. Adding to the excitement of the color guard’s return, the marching band’s journey to the state competitions has been a source of immense pride for one their instructors, Mr. Brian McGaffey, who said, “I am incredibly proud of the Hamilton marching Yankees this year! This is the first time since 1996 that our band has competed in state competitions! That’s 27 years ago!”

The sentiment is widely echoed among the band’s students, particularly the current group of marching band seniors, who commenced their musical journey during the pandemic. Drum major Sebastian Alfaro, a senior in AMPA, stated, “We’ve definitely started a longtime goal of being a competitive band, and I only hope that that goal is being further pursued, and that the band grows more so they can be successful and overall enjoyable to watch.” His fellow drum major Angel Kuk, also a senior in AMPA, agrees with his sentiment, saying, “Right now, we are trying to revitalize the passion that is competitive marching. Though I am not very competitive myself, being able to perform to as many people, especially those who truly care about the art of marching band, I think it’ll be great to go down this path. It’ll allow our band to redevelop a name for ourselves in the competitive field of marching.”

Angel Kuk and Emiliano Ramirez lead the band in the homecoming parade. (Venus Cuevas)

Pride in the band’s performances this school year is shared by many students, especially regarding their field show that highlighted Latinx culture. Sergeant at Arms and Conductor Evelyn Rojas, a junior in AMPA, reflects on one of her most memorable experiences: “Recently, we competed with our field show titled ‘Shades of Latin.’ For me, this was the most memorable because this year, since we have a color guard after a long time of not having one, it was really nice to see a change.” With many of their musicians participating in overlapping activities such as Banda, Mariachi, and Jazz Band, the experience was simpler than most due to them having former practice with the music style. This sets them apart from competing bands, said SAS senior Emiliano Ramirez, reflecting on the band from his perspective as brass major. “I feel like what sets our band apart from others is diversity,” he said. “For the past competition years, our band repertoire was based on Latin music, this year’s music being a “Flames of Latin Passion” theme. A lot of the members in our band are of Hispanic descent, and I feel like that brings an underlying joy in playing the music we present.”

Beyond their collective experiences, the marching band’s impact resonates throughout the school. Their presence extends far beyond rehearsals, shaping the essence of numerous school events, with performances at multiple pep rallies each semester and home football games. “Hamilton’s marching band really brings the energy to any event they perform at,” said SAS senior Ashton Jumawan. His fellow classmate Daniel Bautista, an SAS senior, agrees with this sentiment, adding, “It is loud and it is bombastic and it represents the school and their ambition to make [the] match the best one that they could possibly make.”

The band recognizes senior members/leaders before the homecoming game. (Venus Cuevas)

Among their standout showcases, the grandest stage is the homecoming halftime, where their music takes center stage, amplifying the celebratory spirit of the occasion. Angel Kuk notes, “Performing at pep rallies and home football games has made the ensemble recognizable and welcomed by the rest of the school.” The band’s presence fosters an atmosphere of school pride and unity where students embrace the shared experience of being part of Hamilton High School. Matisse Anderson, an AMPA senior, reflects on the band’s impact, stating, “The Hamilton marching band really brings a certain atmosphere to all the events.” Ashley Garcia, a SAS junior, echoes this sentiment, noting the band’s impact on school spirit, saying, “Marching band has been the main thing that keeps our school spirit alive.”

As football season concludes, the band’s focus shifts to competition season. Emiliano Ramirez highlights this transition, noting, “With football over, we’re geared up for competitions, aiming to uphold our band’s legacy.” This marks a new phase of dedication and passion as they aim for excellence beyond the football fields, striving to make a lasting impression in competitive arenas.

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About the Contributor
Venus Cuevas
Venus Cuevas, Print Editor-in-Chief
Venus Cuevas is the print edition editor-in-chief for The Federalist. They are a 12th Grader in SAS at Alexander Hamilton Senior High. Venus covers whatever they deem interesting and important to share as an article. They are interested in math, film, music, and literature. You can share feedback and story ideas with Venus through email at [email protected] or on Instagram @federalistathami.

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