Bragging rights on the line during band competition |

Bragging rights on the line during band competition

Andrew Pridgen
Appeal Staff Writer
Shannon Litz/Nevada Appeal NEws Service Tuba players, Katie Nicholson, Katharine Eshelman and Brandi Graves, practice for the field show competition at Douglas High School on Wednesday.

‘Tis not to win but to compete well.

Paraphrased from many a coach’s handbook on how to get the squad’s collective mind right after a crushing defeat, the old adage of simply playing your best is not lost on first-year Carson High Band Director Jarod Sorum.

The only problem is, he hasn’t lost yet.

Sorum, who is preparing his 68-member band for a double-dip of performances as a centerpiece of the Nevada Day celebration, said a first-ever Nevada Day Battle of the Bands, will be a good “proving ground” for the mostly underclassmen members of the CHS band.

“We can’t get judged because we’re the host,” Sorum said. “It’s OK though – it’s going to be good exposure to other programs and we’ll be able to gauge a little bit where we’re at prior to the Governor’s Cup.”

On Nevada Day, Carson High will host the U.S. Scholastic Band Association Reno-Tahoe Regional Nevada Day Battle of the Bands, which is more than just a warm-up for many schools – it’s the real deal.

“We’re a national band association,” said Tim Gallagher, events manager of the Washington, D.C.-based USSBA. “We have 800-member bands nationwide from Massachusetts to California. We’re working with the Carson High School Band and band boosters to put this together – they’re very committed. We’re excited to be there.

“We think it’s going to be a good day of competition.”

Eight bands from all points of Nevada (from Spanish Springs to Pahrump to Elko) are expected to compete throughout the day – starting with the Nevada Day Parade, where bands will be judged on overall performance.

Bands will have a break during the day to regroup and enjoy the festivities, and will reconvene at Carson High School at 5 p.m. to be judged on their field shows.

An overall winner will be awarded with the Governor’s Grand Champion Trophy – designed after the cup that was on the USS Nevada during World War II, said Lou Holland, CHS Band Association Inc. treasurer.

“It will be a nice to start a tradition and nice to remember those who came before us as well,” Holland said.

Anticipating this weekend’s activity was Robert Ehni, 18, a CHS senior and percussionist for the band.

Ehni, one of the band’s handful of upperclassmen, said hosting the inaugural competition his senior year is “a big pay-off.”

“This is the first where we’ll be judged by the (national) judges,” he said. “We’ve worked hard this year to put on a good show on Saturday. It’s an honor to host.”

Practice, indeed. Senior Catherine Orpilla, 17, said the band practices eight to 10 hours a week and while preparation for this weekend hasn’t been the main goal, it’s something “everyone’s had in the back of their minds.”

“We want to do well, of course,” she said. “But it’s really about the whole season – every football game, every competition. We want to be consistent, and good.”

Those are two words Sorum used to describe his first year with the program.

“We’ve got a lot of underclassmen and a small group of talented upperclassmen, which I think is what makes this group unique,” he said. “I’ve never seen a group of young people get so dedicated, so fast.

“The support we get from the (boosters) and the greater community has been huge – it makes my job a lot easier.”

But don’t let anyone at CHS hear that Saturday’s event is just a warm-up for the Sierra Band Crusade – also known as “The Governor’s Cup,” which is set for 4 p.m. Nov. 4 at Mackay Stadium in Reno and will feature bands from Nevada as well as California, Idaho, Utah and Oregon.

“This is something just for the state of Nevada, and a way to get Southern Nevada involved in Nevada Day,” band booster Holland said. “Even though Carson is the host, we hope they set the standard.”

• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at or 881-1219.

Nevada Day Battle of the Bands

When: The first competition is at the Nevada Day Parade (10 a.m.) followed by a field performance (5 p.m.) at CHS.

Admission: $11 per person at the field day will go to help pay for the USSBA judges on-hand to score the sanctioned event.

Why: Carson High will host the first-ever nationally sanctioned and judged competition on Nevada Day. Host Carson cannot compete for the top prize, but band director Jarod Sorum said Saturday “is important because it shows where we are and gets us ready for the Sierra Band Crusade.”

Listen for: “We do an arrangement of ‘Over the Rainbow’ that’s fantastic,” Sorum said. “Earth, Wind and Fire’s ‘In the Stone’ gets everyone pumped up.”