Band re-tunes after year of silence


Joseph Zuloaga '23

The Riordan Marching Band performed in the Italian Heritage Parade in October after more than a year of missing performances and parades.

Joseph Zuloaga '23, National News Editor

With the tunes of “Louie Louie” and “Comin’ Alive,” the Riordan Marching Band returned from the two-year COVID-19 slumber stronger than ever. Band Director Kyle Hildebrant stated, “We are super happy to be back!”

Last school-year was particularly challenging for the band program because of the shelter in place restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Assistant Band Director Lance Ohnmeiss said, “Working on Zoom was particularly interesting as I don’t know about technology.” He added, “It was hard but I am happy to be back at Riordan.”

When the all-clear was given to resume in-person activities, Band Camp was held during the first week of August to familiarize both new and returning band members on marching and playing techniques.

“Coming out of COVID and a year of not playing instruments and not having a color guard, band camp was extremely important to bring not only camaraderie back but getting everyone playing again and together,” stated Hildebrant.

As the school year began, the band gathered regularly on Wednesday nights to reinforce playing and marching skills learned in class, but also to have a dress rehearsal for the Saturday band reviews and football games.

“Coming out of COVID and a year of not playing instruments and not having a color guard, band camp was extremely important to bring not only camaraderie back but getting everyone playing again and together,””

— Band Director Kyle Hildebrant

Ohnmeiss stated, “Band rehearsals are always effective as they are important to the success of the Band program.”

On Oct. 2, the band made its first appearance in nearly two years since the pandemic started at the varsity football game against Mitty. They also made appearances at the games against SI and Valley Christian. Classic tunes were played, but some new songs like “Blinding Lights” were introduced to the delight of the audience gathered.

In addition to playing at football games, the band travelled almost every Saturday to compete in band reviews in Elk Grove, Santa Cruz, Pleasanton, Merced, and Fairfield. The band took home 10 trophies combined in the 2021 marching season.

One of the three drum majors Allen Forte ’22 stated, “It was always a good time at the band reviews.”

A highlight during band reviews was always the Riordan Color Guard with their artistic routines accompanying the sounds of the band and the Fall Drumline providing rhythmic beats.

The Color Guard Leads the Marching Band at the Italian Heritage Parade. (Joseph Zuloaga ’23)

“Throwing flags and spinning rifles in Color Guard was great,” stated Color Guard Captain Diane Lai ICA ’24. “There’s a lot of pressure being captain and it is very chaotic, but overall it is fun.”

In the busy first semester for the band, they also played at a San Francisco staple–the Italian Heritage Parade–on Oct. 10 and at Open House on Oct. 27. Additionally, the band received a special visit from the 1st Division Marine Band from San Diego on Oct. 5.

“We are always trying to bring different ways to bring the community together not only here at Riordan but throughout the city of San Francisco,” stated Hildebrant. “We want others to see the joy and wonder that is the ARHS Crusader Marching Band.

With the conclusion of the marching season, the band is looking forward to what is next. The Winter Concert on Dec. 5 allowed for holiday tunes to spread the Christmas cheer and the second semester is sure to bring with it revitalized spirit for the Band program.