Marching Out of Senior Year

Maya Hirano, Reporter

     Over the course of their high school careers, 25 Class of 2019 seniors have been a part of the Trojan Marching Band. Directed by Derek Ka’apana, the Trojan Marching Band accommodates approximately 150 students each year and promotes an appreciation for music, dance and physical well-being.

    “I like marching band in the sense that it’s composed of all four grades and it’s welcome to anyone. So walking around freshman year I felt a lot better knowing that I could walk around campus and if I got lost, I could ask an upperclassman, like ‘where do I have to go?’ or they could help me with lunch schedules or any problems that I had. Now, I like how I am the upperclassman. So it’s like these little underclassmen are my children, and they need help and I can be there to help them,” said Senior Chloe Fong.

    Fong plays the alto saxophone and has been in marching band her freshman, sophomore and junior year. In addition to marching band, she also participates in numerous extracurricular activities that require her to utilize time management skills. “I’m also on the cheer team, I’m the captain of the track team, the vice president of Interact club, I used to be in this class (newswriting) last year, and I’m in student council. Being vice president you have to go to the MICC meetings, and I’m also the secretary for that. Then (there’s) the Student Alliance Mental Health and Wellness, it’s a new club I joined this year. It’s kind of a full plate, along with school itself like with AP classes and all that fun stuff. So it is challenging trying to find the balance between everything. It’s just a matter of communication between advisors and coaches and other people so that they know where I’m at in case I’m missing one practice for another,” said Fong.

    Marching band is also taxing as it requires both physical and mental strength in order to persevere through the long practice hours and shows. Teamwork, fitness and determination are key aspects that play a role in being successful. “There’s a lot of mental challenges that I’ve faced because I’m a section leader, so I have to pretty much teach my section how to dance and just rep a lot of things with them. It’s kind of frustrating when they can’t get it as fast as I would like them to, but in the end they usually either practice at home or get it down at practice so we can be successful,” said Senior Stephanie Matsumoto, who also plays the alto saxophone and has been in marching band since her freshman year. Color guard Senior Teonie Lam added, “Throughout the years, there have been lots of moments when I’ve felt like quitting. My older friends have left and some of my current friends quit the program. I’ve had to keep my morale up and remind myself of why this program is so great. This winter season was the hardest season I’ve ever been in, mentally and physically.” Lam has been in marching band since her sophomore year.

    Along with perseverance and strength, this program has taught the seniors how to be better leaders and how to cooperate more efficiently. As upperclassmen, they have the extra responsibility of being an example for the underclassmen. “As a senior, I definitely felt the responsibility to be a good example. I had to take the responsibility to really know the flag work, counts, placement in the show, so I could help out the younger ones. It was nerve-wracking to have this responsibility because I didn’t think I was that good but I had to be (a) mentor to them. When I was a rookie, I looked up to my seniors and it was crazy that the tables have turned,” said Lam. Matsumoto added, “I learned how to work with my peers better because I used to be pretty shy, but I really came out of my shell.”

    Overall, marching band has provided new experiences for the students. Being able to travel for competitions has given them unique lasting memories of their high school lives. “My most memorable experiences were the trips we took. We went to Bands Of America (BOA) 2017 to compete nationally. If I were able to travel back in time to relive a moment, I’d go back to the time they announced which schools were making it to semifinals. This was Mililani’s second time going to BOA and it was our dream to make it to semifinals. BOA only takes 37 schools out of over 100. 30 schools were announced and we were starting to lose hope. Once they reached 37, a couple of us started to cry because we thought we didn’t make it. When we heard our school’s name being announced, we all went crazy. We screamed, ‘cheehoo-ed’, called our parents, threw shakas, cried,” said Lam. Added Matsumoto, “It was hard, but when I look back on it I don’t have any regrets joining.”

All of the marching band seniors include Sydney Quitoles, Bryan McAniff, Kristen Pascua, Jeffrey Butac, Anika Jiang, Cammi Tamura, Joey Teruya, Melissa Munemitsu, Allyson Munemitsu, Maya Ogasawara, Vanessa Nguyen, Chloe Fong, Stephanie Matsumoto, Trinity Oshiro, Teonie Lam, Sabrina Carll, Ryan Kim, Reece Hanaoka, Kiera Betts, Kaitlyn Hagihara, Fuamatu Timoteo, Darren Imamura, Dylan Phommavong, Casey Nakagawa and Alexandria Cuizon.