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No need to share this time! LAHS band becomes state champs

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By Kirsten Laskey

Last year, the Los Alamos High School band had to settle for a tie. This year, the victory was solely theirs.

The band earned themselves the title of state champions April 24 at Los Lunas High School.

Fifty-two student musicians from LAHS competed against six other schools in the Class AAAA division during the New Mexico Activities Association State Concert Band Contest.

During the state competition, the judges evaluated on reaching the right notes, rhythms, timing, as well as initiation, articulation and style. Scoring is done on a point basis.

LAHS’  highest score was a 94 and its average was 91.8.

After tying with another school last year, the victory seemed all the sweeter.

Dr. Charles Faulkner, band director, described it as “very, very gratifying.  The kids worked hard for it.”

Senior Sheridan Smith said, “It’s really amazing because this is the best we’ve ever done competitively in the last few years.”

“It was pretty awesome,” senior Karina Buttler said. “It was big accomplishment for the band.”

The winning streak continued with the band being selected as “outstanding band” during the Music in the Parks festival, which was held Saturday in Denver.

In fact, this year, the band has brought 19 trophies back to the school.

 “It’s hard to think of what you would do better,” Faulkner said. “The kids pretty well (excelled) everything they went into.”

Success was something the band earned. Faulkner credited “their desire to be successful and their work ethic.

“We have the absolute worst schedule of any band in the state but the kids and parents make it work. I don’t think any band in the state could be successful with the constraints we work with.”

Not only did the students strive for winning, but they did it with class, he added.

“I was as proud of the kids on the trip of how they carried themselves and behaved as I was of how they played.”

The students said their director also had a hand in their success.

Senior Stephen Reimus said there is a definite correlation between Faulkner coming on board last year and the band winning competitions.

He added winning the state competition was a team effort. “It’s all about the team … (and) a lot of self-discipline. It was a team effort and everybody stepped up.”

Faulkner added the band is like a family. “It’s such a close family of kids,” he said. “They take care of each other and help each other out (both personally and within the band).  It’s just a big family. Everybody has a lot of fun.”

There is an extended family, too. “The booster (club) works as hard as the kids.” Faulkner said.

They support the band, chaperone, raise money, and help out at competitions. “There’s no limit to the stuff the boosters do. They are an (important) part of our success,” Faulkner said.

From the support of the parents and the unity of the students to their successful year and recent big win, Faulkner said he hopes more students will be attracted to participate in band.

The hope is that the band’s success will inspire more students to join the family.

The high school bands, along with the musicians from the elementary schools and middle school, will perform in a concert at 7:30 p.m. May 14 at Griffith Gym. Faulkner encourages the community to come to concert to see why the high school band is a state champ.