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Central Valley band marches to victory

Central Valley High School beat all comers Saturday night on the gridiron.

This wasn’t football. It was more like 10 hours of halftime, as high school musicians and color guards from throughout the region competed in the 2010 Sounds of Thunder Pacific Northwest Marching Band Championships at Joe Albi Stadium. It was the 32nd year for the competition, in which the bands are evaluated by eight judges.

Most competitive bands began putting together their routines in the summer, with daylong rehearsals. They’ve practiced daily – sometimes twice daily – since school started to master complicated musical selections performed with intricate marching.

CV, always a powerhouse, won the competition with the show “Criminal,” which started with many of the students performing behind bars as the CV color guard acted out a story of a prison break. But that’s not all: Among schools its size, CV also was judged to have the best auxiliary, best marching, best brass, best winds, best percussion … well, you get the picture.

This year’s surprise success was Cheney High School, which has grown from 23 musicians to 95 in five years.

“It’s just cool to be at this level with these kids,” band director Mike Suhling said.

Cheney’s show, “The Fabric of Time,” contained three movements: The Tyranny of the Clock, Standing Still and Accelerating Future.

University High School took home first place in its division with the show “Promethean Sketches,” about humankind’s relationship with fire. It featured a front percussion ensemble that used chains to create music.

U-Hi’s entire band is just 40 members – 20 of them horn players.

“When you have a small band you have no place to hide,” said Mark Tietjen, U-Hi band director.

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