Carson High marching band rocks highest enrollment ever |

Carson High marching band rocks highest enrollment ever

Part of the brass section belts out a tune during CHS Band practice Wednesday afternoon.
Brad Coman/Nevada Appeal |

Carson High School’s Marching Band is back this year, but bigger and better than ever, according to Director Bill Zabelsky and his students.

This year is the band’s largest enrollment since Zabelsky began his direction at CHS four years ago; there’s a total of 97 members and a good chunk of them are freshmen.

Because of this number, the band will be competing against different divisions from high schools in the area.

The band practices 6-8 hours twice a week — and that includes memorizing each note in the material and performing it on the field with coordinated steps.

But so far the band has been rocking it, especially after their performance at Reed High School for a Senators football game, Zabelsky said.

“They are more accustomed to where I want them to be,” he said. “The goal is to perform better every time we rehearse. They work hard for that.”

CHS Junior and Assistant Drum Major Jacob Richetta said he’s seen a significant difference of growth in the band between now and three years ago.

“This year is the best we’ve sounded and now we have an actual show,” he said. “Along with that, we have great leadership this year to help us develop our sound even more.”

This year’s show features three pieces from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean. Zabelsky said it’s a challenging piece for the band as they’re preparing for competitions later this season.

“They sound better than they have before,” he said. “Now that we have more people, the music is more harder and they’re up for a challenge. This year, we are heavily focusing on the fundamentals.”

One of the main goals for the band is to take home a first place trophy from any of the competitions.

“I’m hoping we can try new things with new members,” said Drum Captain Section Leader Maddy Eustis. “We’re in a new division now because we’ve grown, and we want to win awards against other high school bands in our division.”

As for the freshmen, it’s described they’ve been thrown into the lion’s den — and are fitting in quite well, Zabelsky said.

“The new sound we have is great, but my goal is to make the band more positive and fun,” said CHS Senior and Drum Major Tobi Arreola. “Our second priority should be competing. We have a few new members struggling at times and we want to make them feel included. Band has always been my home and I want that feeling for the freshmen, too.”

The motto for the band this year is to grow as a family within the culture of the band.

“Winning is something but when you have a great performance in the band, it feels great,” said Arreola. “Even if you don’t win.”

“I can’t do it alone,” Zabelsky said. “The staff and leadership of the students have helped make this happen.”

The official season for band begins Oct. 7 at McQueen High School. The band also will be performing in the Nevada Day Parade set for Oct. 28. The last major two competitions of the season are at the University of Nevada, Reno, on Nov. 4 and in Fairfield, Calif., Nov. 18.