Rancho Cucamonga Marching Cougars Finishes Fall Semester With A Record Score


Alexandra Rose Mirman

Rancho Cucamonga Marching Cougars performing during the SCSBOA championships.

Rancho Cucamonga Marching Cougars finished its fall band season with a school record-breaking score of 93.68 points at the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association championships on November 20, 2021. 

They scored 5th place at the competition which was held at Citrus College and broke the previous record of 91 points in 2019. RCMC was the highest scoring band in the district, with Etiwanda and Los Osos placing 6th and 8th place respectively.

RCMC competed in division 6A alongside some of the largest high school bands in Southern California, facing off against powerhouses Rancho Bernardo, Arcadia, and El Dorado High Schools. 

“The competition was the championships for the largest/most competitive division in the SCSBOA circuit,” said Band Director Mr. Austin Rico. “It was Rancho’s first time competing at this level and they did a wonderful job!”

According to Rico, each band is scored in the categories of musical performance, visual performance, general effect (music and visual), percussion, and color guard.

“The show was called ‘The Secret Garden’ and brought the audience into our own world/garden throughout the show,” said Rico. “I’ve always considered Rancho a special place, so the deeper meaning of the show was to allow spectators into our world.”

Over the course of the pandemic, two classes of upper-level band members have graduated, thrusting the then sophomores, now seniors, into the spotlight as students returned to in-person learning.

“We went into this year with the goal of rebuilding the program so that future years can succeed going higher than we did,” said senior Percussion Captain Ethan Schwartz. “We totally blasted through our sophomore peak of 91 points.”

“There was so much hype,” said junior mellophone player Drew Ruiz. “The atmosphere was a once every year feeling that you could do anything, and it felt amazing.”

With the beginning of the new semester, the marching band splits itself into different branches: symphonic band, concert band, wind ensemble, jazz band, winter guard, and winter drumline. Each ensemble attends its own competitions/festivals to receive its own scores and ratings.