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Del Oro High tunes up for Winter Band Championships

1,500 musicians to compete at the Golden Eagles' campus
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Loomis will be music central Saturday, April 2, when Del Oro High School hosts the 2011 Northern California Winter Band Championships. More than 1,500 student musicians from area high schools — including Granite Bay, Woodcreek, Antelope, Elk Grove, Cordova, McClatchy and Nevada Union — as well as 70 other schools from Reno to the Bay Area to the Central Valley, will take the stage in Bonner Gymnasium at 8:45 a.m. to kick off 12 hours of competition. Percussion and color guard teams will compete in seven different categories that include elements of drum corps expertise, ballet and jazz dance, and stage shows coordinated to blend musical and performance excellence. Ben Duncan, Del Oro’s band director, said the championships will provide a full day of musical and performance excellence. “The kids put so much time and effort into these performances that it really blows the audience away. This region is a hotbed for musical talent, and the winter season has already produced dozens of memorable performances,” he said. Duncan said the students are very competitive, but also enjoy the camaraderie when so many schools get together. “It’s music, competition and showmanship … There’s no experience quite like Championships.” The championships are the culmination of a nearly three-month long winter season of competition. All performances will be judged by the Northern California Band Association, established in 1990 to provide an organization that could judge diverse marching band competitions and provide consistency and a slate of judges. Duncan is in his second year as Del Oro’s band director. He and his wife, Anna, are both graduates of Sacramento’s McClatchy high school’s band program and lifelong marching band enthusiasts. The Duncans enjoy the rewards of the hard work their students put in. “When you consider that the students themselves are involved in developing the musical scores and that many of them are discovering new instruments and new talents in themselves, it’s rewarding to see the results come together in well-executed routines,” Duncan said. “Hard work and very time consuming, but these kids have a lot to be proud of and we get to be a part of that.” Duncan said hosting the competition is an honor and that it shows the Northern California Band Association’s respect for Del Oro’s musical programs and ability to coordinate the details of accommodating more than 75 invited schools. “We couldn’t do this without the support from our school administration and the community. This community has a great tradition of supporting music and the arts,” he said. General admission to the competition is $10 per person; student and senior admission is $7. Booths offering refreshments, lunch and dinner will be open. Free parking and shuttle service will be available; there will also be preferred parking on campus for a small fee. — Staff report