A Historic Year for the Arts
A Recap of San Dimas’ 21-22 Competitive Arts Season
May 26, 2022
The arts programs of San Dimas High are some of the most populous organizations on campus. From the Marching Band, to Choir, to Dance, you probably have a friend or two that has spent time in one or more of these programs. And while many have seen these programs in concert or at different rallies and sporting events, few see the competitive sides of the arts at San Dimas High. This year has been a historic year for the Competitive Arts, and here at The Saint Scroll, we want to highlight the incredible results of their 2021-2022 season.
San Dimas Royal Corps:
The San Dimas Marching Band, better known as the “San Dimas Royal Corps” can be seen at every football game and school rally, but few know of the competitive side of this organization. During the fall, the Royal Corps competes in the California State Band Championships (CSBC). Within this circuit, they compete against other marching bands from around the southland, by presenting their halftime field show to a panel of judges. The judges then score the bands off of different categories like Music, Visual, Percussion, and Auxillary. These scores are compared to other high school bands within the circuit to determine ranking, placings, and qualifications for events like CSBC Championships.
This season was seen by many members as a rebuilding year due to the 2020 CSBC season being put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though there weren’t high expectations for this season, the Royal Corps produced some groundbreaking results. At their first competition, the Royal Corps placed 2nd place, out of a total of 4 groups. Though after this, the band would run into some trouble. In their next competition, they placed 4th out of 5 bands, and at the CSBC Semi-Finals event, the Saints would fail to qualify for CSBC Finals after finishing 9th out of 11 bands. They needed to place 7th to continue on to Finals. The Royal Corps would finish only 2 points behind that qualification boundary.
Even with the rough results to the season, many members saw it at a great success. Compared to past seasons, there were a considerable amount of more rookies within the program. Even though 2021 was planned to be a rebuilding year for the band, they still remained heavily competitive, even surpassing the scores from their 2019 season. The Royal Corp currently only have one CSBC finals appearance to their name, from the program’s 2018 campaign, but they are on their way to make many more in the near future.
Winter Color Guard:
The Color Guard is simply a section of the band during the fall, but during the winter, this program has its very own competitive season. The Winter Guard competes in the Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC). Similar to the Marching Band, this program presents a show to a panel of judges that critique in categories such as Equipment, Movement, Design, and General Effect.
The Color Guard of San Dimas has had an intriguing history. Their last championship win was in 2010 and since then the program hasn’t been in the runnings for a top spot. Recently in 2020, after a coaching change, the Color Guard was poised to make a championship run within their division but the season was prematurely cut short due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
This year the Guard picked up right where they left off, immediately scoring high within their original division of High School AA (HSAA). At their first competition, they scored 2nd place out of a total of 9 groups and would continue to replicate these high placings throughout the season. Due to their high talent level, the Guard was immediately promoted up an entire division at only their second competition. Throughout the regular season, the Guard wouldn’t drop out of the top 4 after scoring two consecutive 2nd places, one 3rd Place, and a 4th Place at the end of the regular season. In the postseason, the Color Guard would earn a 5th place rating out of 7 groups at WGASC HSA finals including a 1st place rating in the Equipment Caption. This continues the upward trend of the Color Guard as they look to replicate the level of excellence shown back in 2010.
The Drumline is another section within the band that has its own competitive season during the winter. Their competitions are generally the same as Marching Band competitions, as they present a show to a panel of judges in order to receive a numerical score. This score is then compared with other schools to determine their ranking within their circuit. This year was a new experience for the Drumline as they competed in two different competitive circuits for the first time in more than 5 years. This season the Drumline competed in the Southern California Percussion Alliance (SCPA), and the American Drum Line Association (ADLA).
The Drumline also saw a coaching change this year with the introduction of 2 new music educators. Along with having a younger group, this year was looking shaky for the program from the beginning. Even with all these setbacks, this happened to be one of the most competitive seasons the Drumline has had in recent years. Within the SCPA circuit, the Drumline saw immediate success that mirrored their recent historic 2020 season. The Drumline would take 3rd at their first competition and would take high placings throughout the year. However, this high streak would end during the team’s trip to SCPA Preliminaries where the line would just miss out on advancing to Semi-Finals by only one place.
Within the ADLA circuit, the Drumline would have a much more successful run. The last time the Drumline has been active in ADLA was during their 2020 season, where the Saints were poised to take a podium finish, before the season was cut short. Over the off-season, the Drumline was promoted to a higher division due to their increase in skill level. Even with the unknowns of being in a higher division, the line picked up right where they left off in 2020. San Dimas would not drop out of the top 3 at every ADLA regular-season competition. During Semi-Finals the Saints found themselves 5th overall, qualifying for one of the 7 spots at ADLA Finals. At finals, the Drumline kept their 5th place ranking and would outscore their highest score from 2020. These results continued the recent upward trajectory of the Drumline, who are also looking for their first Championship win since 2010.
During the fall, The San Dimas High School Dance Team can be found on the sidelines of the football field, entertaining the crowd and doing their signature kick line after every touchdown, but during the spring, the team has its very own competitive season. The Dance Program is made up of different groups such as their Contemporary, Jazz, and Pom groups, as well as multiple solo performers that compete in local and national competitions. This year was astonishing for Dance as they saw continuous success in all of their different groups and soloists.
The Jazz and Pom groups would achieve multiple high marks throughout the season with both squads taking 1st place at the “NRG at Knott’s” dance competition. However, it was the Contemporary groups that seemed to shine the brightest. The Xsmall Contemporary team would stay within the top 2 places at multiple competitions throughout the year. The Medium Contemporary Group would be the jewel of Dance’s crown by helping to bring San Dimas back to USA Nationals for the first time in 6 years. Dance’s Medium Contemporary group would place 3rd at Nationals after an entire season of top 3 finishes.
Along with their different groups, Dance’s soloists would also have a season to remember. Some of this season’s brightest stars included Senior Kyra Willet, Sophmore Katelynn Carnighan, and Sophomore Sofia Perez. Throughout the season, Willett has been placing as high as 1st and 2nd at every competition, as well as taking home the High School Solo Champion trophy. Carnighan, in only her second year, ranked as high as 3rd place in her division. Both ladies qualified and represented San Dimas High in the Open Division at Nationals. In only her first year with the team, Perez went above and beyond ranking 1st Place and taking home the High School Solo Champion award at NRG at Knott’s. She would then go on to represent San Dimas High School within the Championship Division at Nationals. Dance has had long a history of excellence which can be seen by the numerous trophies and banners within the dance room, and this year was just a continuation of a legacy of greatness.
While the Drumline and Color Guard split off during the winter, the wind instrument players of the Royal Corps, as well as a few percussion volunteers, form the San Dimas High School Wind Ensembles. During the Winter and Spring, these groups perform and compete in local Southern California Band Festivals. Unlike other competitive arts that perform for a numerical score, the Wind Ensembles get judged and placed into a rating from Fair, to Good, to Excellent, to Superior. These ratings are based on different aspects of the Ensemble’s performances such as Tone Quality, Intonation, and the Balance of the band. Both ensembles would create a playset of 3 different songs from different genres of music ranging from marches, to ballads, and more.
In normal years, there are 3 different Wind Ensembles at San Dimas, but this year they were condensed into 2 different groups. Wind Ensemble 1 consisted of beginner to intermediate musicians, while Wind Ensemble 2 consisted of San Dimas’ advanced musicians. Both groups attended two festivals this season. One would be in their home court of the Bonita Center for The Arts, while the other would be away at Rosemead HS. But no matter where the stage was, it didn’t change the high results of the Wind Ensembles’ performances. Both home and away the San Dimas Wind Ensembles scored only superior ratings. These results would mean that 2022 was a perfect season for the Wind Ensemble programs, a truly difficult task.
The Jazz Band is a similar group to the Wind Ensembles, however, this group is considered the highest-caliber group within the band program. While anyone can join the Wind Ensembles just by signing up for the class, the Jazz Band is purely audition-based. Jazz Band also demands more from its students than the other band groups. While most band classes are held during the day, Jazz Band practice is held during a 0 Period before the school day even begins.
While the band is active the entire year, their competitive festival season is during the spring. This year there were two different Jazz Festivals that the band attended. The first was here at home within the BCA while the other was abroad at Workman High School. Just as the wind ensembles would, the San Dimas Jazz Band would score only superiors at both of their festivals. These results would mean that the greater band program of San Dimas High School would achieve a perfect festival season. This would be the first time in 15 years that the Saints have had a perfect season of all superior ratings. The last time this was achieved was during the 2007 festival season.
The San Dimas Choir is made of up of three different smaller programs known as, Chorale, Bel Canto, and Chamber Singers. Chorale is the base level choir program, consisting of mostly beginner and intermediate singers. The Bel Canto group is an ensemble made up of all female singers, most being at intermediate level. The San Dimas Chamber Singers are the highest caliber program that the Choir Department has. Chamber is purely audition based and consists of the most advanced singers choir has to offer.
The Choir Department attended two different music festivals during the year. The first was at the BCA right here at San Dimas High. The second was in San Diego, as was only attended by the Chamber Choir. During these festivals the different choir programs present a variety of musical arrangements to a panel of judges, in a very similar manner to the Wind Ensembles and Jazz Band. The judges will then give them a rating that varies from Fair, to Good, to Excellent, to Superior.
This year the Choir program joined the Wind Ensembles and Jazz Band by achieving a perfect superior record for all of their programs. Chorale, Bel Canto, and Chamber all achieved a superior rating within their respective festivals. This was the first time in San Dimas High School history that the Choir Department had achieved all superior ratings. This incredible result would mark history for San Dimas High as this past season has been the first time in school history that all of the festival-going programs have had a perfect season of only superior ratings.
One more arts program that has had a stellar, record-breaking season, was the San Dimas Culinary Program. The San Dimas Culinary Program hosts two different competitive teams, the main Culinary Team and the Management Team. Both of these teams have their own competitions in which they are pitted against other schools from across the state.
The Culinary team is made of the cooks of the program. Their job is to present a set of meals to a panel of judges including an appetizer, entree, and dessert. The team is then judged on different aspects of their performance like presentation, sanitation, time, and the quality and difficulty of the dishes presented. The judges then consider those different categories in compiling their ranking against other culinary programs. Usually dishes are rating in difficulty from a score of 1 to 5, but this year the Culinary team was so dominant they the judges marked their dishes with a difficulty level of 6. This season would end with the Culinary team placing in an astonishing 2nd place in their state-wide competition. This is the highest the placement in San Dimas High history as well as the highest placement that the Bonita Unified School District has ever seen.
While the Culinary team is away preparing meals and serving dishes, the management team is hard at work within their own competitions. The Management Team is made of many different types of students with one main goal, to create the best possible restaurant. For competitions, the management team must create a full restaurant concept, including making a menu, a plan to find ingredients, a marketing plan, and a floor plan. After creating this plan, the team presents their concept to a panel of judges. The team must preset a slideshow presentation that shows their concept and plans, as well as submit a book that contains all the possible information about their concept. After this presentation the team is subject to a 5 minute questioning period where the judges attempt to find holes within the Management team’s concept plans. This year, Management finished and outstanding 3rd place in a state-wide competition, keeping the amazing streak of podium finishes within the art programs.