The Ridge Review

The Student News Site of Mountain Ridge High School | Glendale, Arizona

The Student News Site of Mountain Ridge High School | Glendale, Arizona

The Ridge Review

The Student News Site of Mountain Ridge High School | Glendale, Arizona

The Ridge Review

Two Ridge students pose at prom photo booth
Festival of Lights
Remi McKim, Journalist • May 16, 2024
a total solar eclipse
Celebrating a Phenomenon
Remi McKim, Journalist • May 16, 2024

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Find Some Joy with Mountain Ridge’s Pride of the West!

Photo by Lee Myers

“Back to school…a joyous, energetic time of year with wonderfully early mornings and-” …words that quite possibly have never been spoken, and for Mountain Ridge’s Pride of the West, those early mornings started long before you even thought about school this summer. Look around though, or perhaps take a listen and you might just find something to brighten your spirits.

The Mountain Ridge Band’s 2023 show entitled “PLAY” is bringing back some childish joy and a sense of energy to the start of this year. Led by director Aaron Vogel, this year’s show is sure to spark some childhood memories with music from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as well as The Muppets, along with other well-known pieces such as “Children’s March” by Percy Grainger. The performance brings an atmosphere of color and imagination as the band marches playfully alongside the brilliant choreography and tosses of the guard. Currently ranked 1st in the state of Arizona and 14th in the nation, the Pride of the West marching band has already made its mark just a couple of weeks into the season. However, getting there has required nothing short of commitment, focus, and dedication. Katie Segin, a junior in weapon line for the guard explains that “the vocabulary over in the guard choreography is far more advanced than what we’ve done over in the past.” While more time and attention to detail is necessary with such choreography, Segin is optimistic about what is to come, as this allows room for growth and a more impressive show in the end. In addition, the band wasted no time in wowing the judges, scoring in the eighties, and earning all caption awards on just their first performance.

If you have visited campus anytime before or after school, chances are you’ll hear the band before you even exit your car. For the performance to be at such a high level, the participants of the Mountain Ridge Marching Band can be found practicing, rehearsing, and playing almost 24/7. Rikky Pattela, a sophomore clarinet player in the band explains that “it’s a lot of practice, it’s a lot of repetition, and it’s finding the minute details that we need to fix.” Working just as hard, you don’t have to look far to find members of the guard rehearsing as well. “We have hours of practice…each person has their own personal responsibilities…so when we’re not all practicing together, we’re focusing on tosses that we’re dropping or choreography that we are confused on,” explains Segin. And just in case you were thinking that this must just be a busy time of the year, Liel Royal, a junior on Bass Clarinet can assure you otherwise. When asked about the preparation that is required, Royal answered “hours, weeks, months. We’ve been doing this since July.”

Compared to previous shows done by Mountain Ridge, such as the 2021 show entitled “The Obstacle is The Way,” a performance that brought a much darker tone to the table, this year’s show brings an unmatched playful energy to the field that stands out amongst the competition. Kade West, the section leader for low brass, who’s in their third year with the band explained that “this year is supposed to be nostalgic and childish.” When posed with the question of whether there was a preference for “light” or “dark” shows, many students stated that it depends on how they are able to connect with the music and display that through their performance. Royal explains “The light parts are the best part of it because it brings out the musician in you. There is more to you than just a marcher…you are a human being and it shows all those parts of you.” In addition to the light, lively tone that this year’s performance brings, Royal also illustrated the depth with which the performers can put true emotion into this show, stating “In part three, which is ‘Rainbow Connection’ from Kermit the Frog, when Averie [Downey] does her amazing solo, it’s just such a beautiful, bright moment… there’s an impact moment where the color guard is putting up their flags and it’s like a sign of relief.” Showing no signs of slowing down, Mountain Ridge Pride of the West hopes to continue putting on high-scoring performances as well as keep their title as the number-one band in Arizona.

Take a listen to what some students have to say about their experience in the band!

Katie Segin 11, Guard: “It’s really fun! I know it’s classic for a guard member to say this but it truly is like an automatic family.”

Kade West 11, Baritone (Low Brass Section Leader): “I swear we are actually cool, we’re not these boring nerds. It says something that we are not just sitting in chairs, looking at whole notes… we’re memorizing whole notes runs and running around the field, while not hitting other people!”

Rikky Pattela 10, Clarinet: “It’s not a bunch of weird kids. It’s everybody that has a passion for their instrument… Learning music is genuinely cool. Even if you play a sport, it’s good to have a grasp on some music.”

Liel Royal 11, Bass Clarinet: “It’s ok to wanna express yourself through music, because at the end of the day, music has helped everyone in different ways… It’s always gonna be there for you, no matter what you’re going through, it’s gonna be there for you…I get to express that through marching band… it’s so magical, I really do encourage people to join marching band!”

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About the Contributor
Lucille Christensen
Lucille Christensen, Journalist
Lucille Christensen is a 10th grader in her first year of writing for the Ridge Review. She is part of the Ridge orchestra as well as the soccer team and will never turn away an opportunity to mess around with graphic design. She enjoys writing about sports and events going on both at Ridge and around our community!

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    KatieDec 7, 2023 at 11:09 AM

    So cool!