Alliance Middle School took home some hardware from the Old West Fest in Scottsbluff, tying for first place with Gering High School.

Band Director Laura Mangas said the performers have been working hard to perfect their skills—hard work which paid off.

“So the kids have been working since we started the first day of school in August and they meet every day and we go outside and work on how to step style, marking time, moving forward, how to figure out what their left is versus their right,” said Mangas. “Then we work on how to find focus, so because they have to not let anything bother them and there can be lot of distractions.

“I would say they have started in sixth grade by learning their instrument because along with that music, along with marching they’ve got to be able to play their music and I would say since sixth grade, so you’re talking hundreds of hours just in the classroom. They’ve got outside practice too,” Mangas said.

The performance was dedicated to Emma Reza, a classmate who lost her life earlier this year. Mangas said the performance means a lot to her, especially having her son Daulton Mangas in the band.

“It’s that proud moment. You’re not just a teacher. You’re a proud parent and I’ve told these kids from day one you’re not my students, you’re my kids. They are an extension of my immediate family and I think that’s why we all work really for each other, all of us do.”

The Alliance Times-Herald spoke with band members about the performance.

Daulton Mangas said, “It meant a lot to me to really get to march for the first time and knowing that we beat the high school and tied for first with Gering High School. It meant a lot. And then I feel really happy that we accomplished this and we did really good.”

Ayvrie Waldron said, “Well it was pretty exciting since it was our first year and we put a lot of hard work into it, so I think it paid off.”

Reese Swanson said, “The performance means a lot to me because I think we tried really hard to get to where we are now from day one. We were a little scratchy and eventually got better and everyone was nervous at first, but then as we went in and turned the corner to get judged we just wiped it off and it was like nothing.”

Emma Machado said, “Well the performance was a very exciting part especially because it was our first year. Getting first for being our first year was exciting for pretty much everybody. Everybody was nervous. I think our nervous took over and we did a really good job.”

Ashley Carr said “The performance it was amazing, it was lots of fun and what it meant to me was we tied first with Gering High School was awesome for our first time.”

Carlee Romero said, “The performance was a lot of fun. It was really exciting and especially winning for our first time, our first competition and tying with a high school.”

Noemi Gonzalez said, “The performance meant a lot to me because I wanted to show Miss Mangas, all of us wanted to show Miss Mangas, that we could do amazing and we did absolutely amazing and beating the high school was the best thing ever, just knowing that you are really good at it.”

Matthew Moomey said, “It means a lot. I love band. It means a lot because seventh- and eighth-graders stepped up, especially the seventh grade. We beat all of the high schools except one, so I think we did really good. We accomplished a lot.”

Benjamin Cassatt-Reina said, “I just love band and it was amazing, especially since I didn’t get placed since I was conducting the band, but accomplishing it you have all of these people you get to interact with.”

Charlotte Schmidt said, “It means a lot because it’s my last year here and I’m pretty proud of this band. It’s just pretty great we won an award and seeing everybody step up in seventh and eighth grade, so it means a lot to me.”

Maddy Huss said, “We worked really hard to get to where we’re at and we beat all of the high schools except for one and the seventh graders really stepped up because our teacher, Mangas has cancer and so that set them back a long ways. They were almost three months behind us when it came time for the Christmas concert, so they had a lot of work to do and they really stepped it up and got where they needed to be.”

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