By Connie and Lynn Baer
The past two years of COVID have presented seemingly insurmountable obstacles for activity classes such as high school marching bands. Grossmont High School’s director of instrumental music, James Villegas, found ways to overcome these obstacles.
2021 Mother Goose Parade
Looking back on the fall semester, James shares: “The famous Mother Goose Parade had to go virtual in 2021 for the second year in a row and it was a disappointment as the Royal Blue Regiment looked forward to the parade being our inaugural march as than a community marching band. However, the band’s disappointment was short-lived after Mother Goose Parade Manager Deborah Chandler contacted us to headline a Mother Goose Virtual with former Joe Musgrove, Class of 2011. Parade.
It was a whirlwind of activity to be ready in time, but the students “made it”. Our “parade” started from the Humanities Building on the east side of campus, past the GHS Museum, and ended in the courtyard of the new theater complex. A drone recorded the parade, which aired on November 21, 2021. Led by Senior Drum Major Joseph Steinbock, the Royal Blue Regiment did an “excellent job”.
2021 Holiday Bowl Parade
A very different parade experience took place in December. Villegas said: ‘It was an honor to be part of Grand Marshal Joe Musgrove’s entourage for the 2021 Holiday Bowl Parade, which was ‘a big step forward’ for the Royal Blue Regiment as we re-establish the tradition of the parade here at Grossmont High School. ”
Joey Arthur, a senior, said: “It was a whole new experience! I’ve watched parades all my life and now it was exciting to be part of a big parade. Seeing other bands, the floats, the crowds and performing live is something I will never forget. Our group was proud to be there, and even though it was in the middle of the winter break, most of our members were able to be there.
Villegas adds, “Parents, alumni and of course band members all came together to make the parade a huge success for us. As a manager, I was overwhelmed with group pride. It was my first outing after an eight-week medical absence. I couldn’t follow the walkers and that’s good; the emotion of the event may have brought tears of joy to my eyes. A director who rocks? Never! I couldn’t risk losing discipline in those nearly perfect ranks!
“The Royal Blue Regiment was the only local high school band to perform at the Holiday Bowl Parade this year, but we were able to mix it up with bands from across the country, including Iowa and the Wolfpack band from the state of North Carolina. Led by the Grossmont NJROTC Honor Guard, we played Sousa’s “Washington Post” loud and clear. Even our famous Foothiller mascot, Gus, walked with us and entertained the crowd.
“We look forward to bringing the parade tradition back to Grossmont. If we can raise funds, I would like to restore the Grossmont shields and large flags to our lineup, add the cheer squad to our drill squad for exciting color, and bring in alumni to carry the banner of the ‘school. (If you would like to make a financial donation to support these efforts, please contact James at [email protected].). The parade is one of the best ways for our school to support and connect with the community. »
Junior Hayden Evey said, “This was our first show since I was in high school and I can’t wait to do more! At first I was nervous, but it was very exciting! You are focused on marching and performing, but the start is really exciting when you see and hear other bands. The other bands, and especially the crowds, who cheered us on were amazing, and I can’t wait to do more!
Villegas explains, “Paradising means being part of the community, showing pride in our school, performing in front of thousands of people and bringing out the best in our students. They work hard to achieve the goal and end the day feeling proud, tired and maybe a little sore.
Grossmont NJROTC Annual Inspection
On campus, the instrumental music program increases school pride. Director Villegas shares: “The Royal Blue Regiment made history on December 8, 2021, when for the first time in recent memory the group performed for the annual Grossmont NJROTC inspection. For the past few years, recorded music has been used for this important event, but as I said, “Not on my watch!”
Sophomore Kyle Sterling and Drum Major Joseph Steinbock worked closely with CWO Vasquez to provide musical entertainment for arriving guests, followed by the Warrant Officer’s Roll Call and the Sousa’s “The Washington Post” for the pass and review portion of the inspection.
“We were very honored to be a part of this beautiful tradition and look forward to participating in the years to come,” they said.
The GHS Instrumental Music Program continues to be a source of Foothiller pride, a pride that began in 1920 and is celebrated in a book documenting the first 95 years of the program, available for purchase from our GHS Museum Store page at foothillermuseum.com.
For more information on the program itself, please contact James at [email protected]. To learn more in person, visit the GHS Museum on Wednesdays by appointment or Saturday, February 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Masks for all are compulsory inside the museum. For more information, contact us at [email protected] or (619)668-6148.
— Connie and Lynn Baer write on behalf of the Grossmont High School Museum.