The Sentinel Band Wins at Anaheim California Festival


The long awaited Sentinel Band trip finally arrived over spring break in Anaheim, California at the Anaheim Heritage Festival. The festival was once again a Spartan sweep as our top band, the Wind Ensemble, won gold first place in the highest category of competition. The band played a five movement piece inspired by the book, Moby Dick. One of the movements was purely singing, which set them apart from the other bands who performed from across the country. The Percussion Ensemble also won a gold plaque for their eclectic pieces of music. The Jazz Band won a gold plaque and placed second in their division. Sentinel’s second top ensemble, Symphonic Band, they placed silver in their division. There were schools from all over the country and a small town in Montana took home the highest achievement.

Chances are high that almost everyone in the Sentinel community was aware of all of the fun the bands were having in California. The bands went to Knott’s Berry Farm, the Santa Monica Pier, the University of Azusa Pacific University for a clinic, and so many more fun events. Band members were posting almost everyday, and it was very clear that it wasn’t just a strictly business trip, but rather, also a fun trip to remember.

Sentinel’s Band Director, Lewis Nelson, recapped the Wind Ensemble’s performance, voicing his thoughts on the clinicians, and possible future plans in two years. Nelson had very strong opinions on the clinicians and the advice they gave his bands. He even went as far to describe them as “the weakest clinicians he’s even seen in his [professional] life.” The breathing advice and musical dynamic advice given, is musically incorrect, according to Nelson. He then unveiled the Wind Ensemble’s three ratings, out of 100, which were 98, 96, and 90. These averaged out to be the highest score, thus awarding the Wind Ensemble gold and a first place ranking. Nelson stated that the creator of the Anaheim Heritage Festival, spoke to him after the performance and said that the Wind Ensemble was “the best that he has heard in 10 years”, which was another ‘feather in the director’s cap’ from the California trip. Later, in the recap, Nelson hinted at a trip to Europe in two years. There is no official decision of another band trip, nor where it will be, but the Sentinel band will only get stronger over time.

Sentinel usually ranks in the top category for state sports and activities, but the Sentinel band took it to the next level and went national. The bands took gold and silver plaques and placed high at the Anaheim Heritage Festival and put the state of Montana on the charts. Not only did every band place, but they also took home four blue trophies that were roughly four feet tall. Because of all the gold plaques and high placings in Anaheim, all those who were awarded gold placings were invited to Nashville, Tennessee and Carnegie Hall in 2022-2023. There, the best bands can compete against other advanced bands. This is truly an honor for the program and Lewis Nelson. The Spartan Scoop staff will be following the program to see what they will be doing in the next two years and the further achievements the program will continue to obtain at high levels of competition.