For the third time in a row, Maui High School's marching band and color guard strutted off with the top prize in their division, getting a superior rating Saturday during the 2012 Mililani Trojans Festival of Bands at Mililani High School on Oahu.
"I'm really happy and proud of what we accomplished last night," said senior Trent Asato, the band president and a tuba player, on Sunday. "It just showed that all the hard work and long hours that we sacrificed paid off."
Band Director Kerry Wasano said Asato was among the leaders of the 120-student band and color guard that practiced an average of 13 to 14 hours per week for a dozen weeks - oftentimes on a hot, dusty field.
"He's really taken a lot of the leadership," Wasano said of Asato. "He's very conscientious of what the band needs. He'll make sure everyone stays on task. He really cares about what he's doing."
Maui High competed in the festival's AAA Division, finishing with the top score against Oahu bands from Kalani and Pearl City high schools. Kalani placed second, Wasano said.
The Maui High band finished first in all judging categories, except percussion, in which it was second. The other categories were overall general effect, color guard, drum major, music execution, marching and maneuvering, and soloist.
Wasano said that the band built the theme of its performance around a quote from visual designer Myron Rosander. The quote was: "To the edge I've come to face my fear; so let me fall and watch me fly."
The band members were asked to interpret the quote, and many of them said it represents their physical and mental limitations, what they fear and then - through practice and work - "they kind of learn to overcome their fears and limitations," Wasano said. "They learn to become successful, to exceed and excel beyond limitations."
"The students really felt an understanding of what this whole activity is about," he said. "I think it taught them a good life lesson."
Asato said many of the students had their own interpretations of the theme.
But for him, Asato said his fear was about upholding the band's reputation as a two-time winner, and, as band president, to lead the band in the right direction and overcome challenges.
This year's performance was among the school's "most ambitious," he said. "It required a lot of physical and mental challenges."
At times, everybody would get "stressed out," he said, but eventually the band members came together, overcame their doubts, and put on a "good show for the audience."
Wasano said this will be the last year of band for 41 seniors, or a third of the band.
"They're a really special group, really hardworking and really good leaders," he said.
And, it won't be easy to replace a group of students that set such a high standard for others to follow, he said. "Recruitment is a big issue right now," he added.
Wasano said that drum majors Lavinia Sagario, a senior and head drum major; Marlena Cua, a junior; and Ranimae Jiminez, a senior; represented the "bulk of leadership that happens on the field, off the field."
Noel Machacon, a senior, was the band's soloist on the baritone horn.
Wasano also credited the work done by members of the band staff, including Kristin Tanaka, assistant band director; Ty Lim, percussion instructor; and Bobby King, color guard head instructor.
"We consult," he said. "We decide what needs to be worked on for the day . . . They do the day-to-day grunt work."
The band's booster club was instrumental in raising funds to pay for airline tickets and hotel accommodations for the band's trip to Oahu.
* Brian Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.