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More than music

Josh Fields/Arizona Daily Wildcat
The Pride of Arizona marching band parades down East University Boulevard during the Big Arizona Music Festival on Sept. 24. The Pride of Arizona will perform at Band Day on Saturday evening at Arizona Stadium.
By Randi Eichenbaum
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
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Band Day brings out best in Southwest marching bands

With reality television all the rage, showdown competitions seem to be an everyday occurrence. There is the dance off, the sing off and the band off. OK, maybe you have never seen a band off, unless you will admit to actually watching "Drumline," but now you can.

The UA's Pride of Arizona marching band will be hosting its 52nd annual Glassman Foundation University of Arizona Band Day on Saturday, where high schools from all over the Southwest region come to "bring it" - marching band style.

High school marching bands from California to New Mexico make their way to the UA to perform their shows in front of a panel of judges from all over the country. The bands are divided up into three divisions based on size, and they are then judged on aspects of their show including musicality and visual effect.

Stacy Nicoletta, a civil engineering senior, trumpet player for the Pride of Arizona and member of Tau Beta Sigma, a band sorority, said that Band Day is a great tool for recruiting people to come and play for UA.

"It's the main reason people do band here," Nicoletta said.

Tau Beta Sigma and its sister fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi organize and put on Band Day, which involves parking, registration and providing the judges with meals. On top of all the administrative details, they have also been working diligently to be able to perform their show in its entirety.

"It's a long day for me. It's my last year in pride, and the day is very emotional," Nicoletta said.

I look forward to playing for people who truly appreciate (Band Day) for marching standards. We work our asses off, and this is the final payoff.

- Salvatore Boenzi, clarinet performance sophomore and Pride of Arizona baritone player


Nicoletta, an East Coast native, was unsure of what all the hype was about Band Day before experiencing it for herself.

"When I came down here I was like, 'What is Band Day?'" Nicoletta said. "I had no clue what people were talking about until the actual day came and then I was like, oh, this is pretty cool."

Although Nicoletta was in the dark, many students have the advantage not knowing what they are getting into by participating as high school students. Salvatore Boenzi, a clarinet performance sophomore and baritone player for the Pride of Arizona, is among those who were in the know. In fact, Boenzi was influenced in coming to the UA after participating in band day during his high school years at Tucson's Mountain View High School.

"I'm pretty much going here because of the band," Boenzi said.

Boenzi likes the show this year particularly because of the music choice, a medley of Led Zeppelin songs.

Jay Rees, associate professor of music, the associate band director for the School of Music and director of the Pride of Arizona, writes the entire show.

"This is probably one of the hardest ones he has written," Boenzi said. "The music itself isn't too demanding, but he writes in his own specific style so it works in the marching field."

On top of where everyone goes and how to make one formation transform gracefully into another, Boenzi says that Rees works to create a meaning around the show. According to Boenzi, the show illustrates the various paths and aspects of life, both good and bad.

"Some parts are just loud, scary and in your face where others are softer and more lyrical," Boenzi said.

Boenzi enjoys playing parts of the show for audiences at the football games for practice and to see the reaction of his peers, but performing for Band Day will be the real test.

"I look forward to playing for people who truly appreciate it for marching standards," Boenzi said. "We work our asses off, and this is the final payoff."

Band Day is Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Arizona Stadium, 530 N. Vine Ave. Tickets are $5 for general admission, $3 for UA staff and $2 for students.

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