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Douglas high band takes first place

by Linda Hiller, staff writer

The Douglas High School Fighting Tiger Band won first place overall in the “A” Division at Saturday’s 7th Annual McQueen Band Extravaganza held in Reno.

“We also won caption awards (outstanding field in each division) with trophies for brass, woodwinds, auxiliary (flag team), and drum major,” said DHS Band Director Bill Zabelsky. “Our percussion got second place, so all the sections did great.”

The high school marching band contest was attended by 18 bands from California and Nevada in four divisions – A, AA, AAA and AAAA. Last year, DHS was in the larger AA division with around 90 members – competing against schools including Galena and Sparks. Those two schools moved up to the AAA division this year, but DHS dropped to the smallest division, with 58 members.

This year, in the A division the Fighting Tigers competed against bands from Spring Creek, Roseville, Calif. and Red Bluff, Calif.

Working with a smaller band is essentially the same as teaching a large one, Zabelsky said.

“The kids all need to do the same thing – hold their horns up, and stay in formation – but with a smaller band, you obviously don’t have the size or the sound of a larger band. You just have a smaller sound,” he said. “A lot of times smaller bands will overcompensate by blatting (blowing harder), and I’ve told the kids not to do that, and they didn’t. I am hoping we’re not going to get any smaller.”

– See them Saturday. Saturday, Oct. 14, DHS will be hosting another marching band contest, the “Best of the West” field show.

Performances begin at noon on the DHS football field and admission is $3.

Zabelsky said the DHS band will be performing, but not competing against the five other bands.

Carson Valley residents who want to see the prize-winning Fighting Tiger Band perform Saturday should be in for a treat, he said.

“The way they started the year, it was scary because they’re a young group,” he said. “But they listened, and every time they took the field they knew what to fix. They’ve improved every performance and it’s been a fun group to work with.”