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Band director Charles Faulkner describes the Los Alamos High School Marching Band as success oriented - "They want to be the best," he said. During competitions held Oct. 20 and Saturday, the marching band's drive was awarded.
During the Pageant of the Bands, held Oct. 20 at Wilson Stadium in Albuquerque, the band earned first in their class. Additionally, the brass section received an outstanding rating and the auxiliaries, or flags, were awarded an outstanding rating.
Their success continued Saturday. During the Zia Marching Fiesta, which was held at the University of New Mexico Stadium, the band was awarded third place in their class.
Faulkner credits not only the students' personal initiative for helping the band be successful, but he also recognizes Bill Austell's work. Austell, a Las Lunas resident, writes the drills for the marching band.
"(He is) a tremendous help to me and the kids," Faulkner said.
The students also have a lot of personal drive, he said. They call and hold their own rehearsals.
During the Pageant of the Bands, students were judged in four categories: music, general effect; music, execution; marching, general effect; and marching, execution. Additionally, a judge evaluated the percussion section and another judged the auxiliary.
"We were extremely happy with what they did," Faulkner said.
The competition will be getting tougher as the band enters the Tournament of the Bands Saturday at New Mexico State University. During the upcoming competition, Faulkner explained the band needs to finish in the top 10 to proceed to the finals. Last year, the band finished 15th.
They will be up against bands of every size not only from New Mexico, but also from Texas and Colorado.
"We just want to do as good as we can do," Faulkner said.
As the band prepares for its next competition, Faulkner said he is working to get a handle on the band program.
Faulkner is starting his first year in the school district. He previously taught in Texas but he did teach for 21 years in New Mexico. He returned, he said, because "I really like this state ... (and) I felt like I wanted to finish out my teaching days in New Mexico."
Although he never heard of Los Alamos, he did know the several former band directors in the school district.
Additionally, Faulkner said he was impressed with the high school during his job interview. "It just seemed like a good fit," he said.