The Pride of Nogales marching band from Nogales High School recently wrapped up a fall season in which they perfected a show that senior members said took them to new heights.

“This was one of the more exciting shows that we’ve had – in all my four years, it’s the most exciting,” senior drum major Monica Navarro said of “The Arena,” a show that tells the story of a female boxer who loses a fight, but comes back to win a rematch.

A member of the Arizona Marching Band Association (AzMBA) 2A Class, the NHS band performed “The Arena” at competitions beginning with the Ironwood Ridge Show and the University of Arizona Band Day, earning third place at both.

Next up was the Walden Grove Show, where they finished in second place. And they wrapped up the season on Nov. 9 at the AzMBA 2A Class Championship at Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix, where they came in 11th in a field of 23.

“All the kids put in a lot of effort, there wasn’t any negativity,” said Marcel Aguirre, alternate drum major and section leader for saxophones. “At times we did have our setbacks because people were tired and it was a long rehearsal. But through all of that, we stuck it out and I think the results were really worthwhile. I’m proud.”

The band earned auxiliary captions at the Ironwood Ridge, UA and Walden Grove competitions, meaning they were judged to have the best color guard performances. Aguirre attributed those distinctions to the dynamism of the show, in which a member of the pom team battled a member of the flag team in a ring, with the pom winning the first fight and the flag taking the rematch.


The Pride of Nogales competes at the class championship in Phoenix.

Of the four major competitions, Aguirre said the class championship was the most memorable for him, because they added new visual elements in the rehearsals leading up to it.

“That was probably the toughest part because we had to memorize new movements in such a short amount of time, but in the end I think we really nailed it,” he said.

Navarro said the Walden Grove show, in which the NHS band finished second, was the most memorable for her. As a drum major, the most challenging part of the show for her was conducting a change in time signature during the last movement.

The two seniors cited a pair of classmates as standouts in this year’s band: Valeria Reyna, the clarinet section leader, and Vanessa Baldenegro, another drum major and trumpet player.

In addition to the competitions, the Pride of Nogales performed at halftime of the NHS football games this fall and marched in the Homecoming and Veterans Day parades in Nogales. They also marched in the Day of the Dead procession in Tubac and in the White Elephant Parade in Green Valley, a judged parade in which they won first place.

With the fall season now over, the Pride of Nogales is considering more marching band activity in the spring.

“We’re trying to get a trip to Disneyland, where we can march on Main Street and get a clinic with the Disneyland band,” Navarro said.

This year’s band staff included Kevin Cross (director of bands), Roxanna Jimenez (assistant band director), Stephanie Benavides (color guard coach), Monik Vindiola (dance coach) and Roberto Zubieta (music and visual coach).

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