Cesar Chavez HS Indoor Percussion
This year’s Cesar Chavez High School indoor group was the first group in the history of Kern County to be recognized as a World Class group.
For the first time in Cesar Chavez High School history, the Titan Indoor Percussion competed in the Winter Guard International (WGI) Scholastic Marching World event on April 11-12, 2019 in Dayton, Ohio. Performing their show, "Between the Dark and the Light", they advanced to the semi-finals with a preliminary score of 83.7. They were cut short of making finals by only .713 points behind Walled Lake Central HS from Walled, MI with a score of 84.788. With a semi-final score of 84.075, the Titans finished 16th in the World competition.
Percussion Director, Mr. G., reflects on the competition.
CCHS: What was the atmosphere like?
GONZALES: The atmosphere was awesome. Just to be in the arena and in the Lot where all the groups were warming up was a dream come true for everyone. All the years we as kids look at YouTube and footage of World Championships and to think here we are at the venue for four days was almost too good to believe. In fact, Kenneth Espiritu was overcome with emotion before we went on the floor at prelims. I thought something was wrong but he said he always wondered how it would feel to be here one day and as it was happening. He just couldn't believe it. We all felt that way. Being in WORLD CLASS put us in the position to compete at the arena at the University of Dayton for prelims and semifinals. Open Class and A Class had to compete in Kentucky at Northern Kentucky University and Wright University for their prelims and semifinals. World Class is a whole different animal! The best of the best and we were the ONLY school in the National WGI circuit to be promoted to World Class from Open Class during the season.
CCHS: How was it when preliminary scores were announced?
GONZALES: After Prelims we just hoped to not have finished last. We didn't know what to expect. When the scores were posted online we just couldn’t believe that we were ranked 15th in the World in World Class! The top 15 that make it out of semis move on to finals and we were sitting on the 15th place out of the top 20 in the nation. So we were thrilled and yet shocked really. We were better than we thought we were. We immediately went to our practice site and put in a session at U of D campus and went back to our hotel and prepared for semifinal the next day. We were stoked and hyped.
CCHS: How were the students?
GONZALES: The students were both excited and tired. We got off the flight and never stopped moving from one place to another. Everything was new and we had to think on our feet and respond to the rigor of the schedule. Everything was bam-bam non-stop. But the kids had a blast and were great representatives for our community.
CCHS: What was special about this 2019 season?
GONZALES: The special part of our season was just the relationships that were built over months and months of pure focus and work. In my opinion this group hands down goes down as the greatest team/group of kids this school and city and for that matter this county has ever seen in the Scholastic High School Percussion realm. This group of seniors in four years were NEVER defeated by anyone in this valley, the Central Section of California-D2 one year and D1 the past three years!! This group was also the only group to attain World Class status in the last three years in Central California. No Clovis Unified school nor any school in any district in the San Joaquin valley can make that claim. It is quite a story and I hope everyone in this community realizes this and takes time to appreciate it and be proud that a group of kids from Delano, California made a NATIONAL mark for our town in the Top Class Worldwide-World Class!!!
This year’s indoor group was the first group in the history of Kern County to be recognized as a World Class group. The first such group in the 31-year history of the Kern County based association. CCHS was also the first World Class Champion in the history of the association this year. To add to that, Innovative Percussion Inc. welcomed the CCHS percussion ensemble to their company as the latest school to be sponsored by this world wide drum company. The Innovative Percussion video is posted on the CCHS home page on the district website.
To make this clearer, since we are so sports minded in this community with regard to success being highlighted and advertised. The Ball brothers of Chino Hills started the Chino Hills dynasty in high school basketball (Big Balla Brand -BBB). This year Chino hills basketball team took the D1 Open Class state championship with their win over James Logan High (back-to back). These two schools are perennial champions in the state with regards to marching band in the fall and Indoor Percussion in the spring. Chino Hills three-peated in Indoor Percussion at World Championships in World Class two weeks ago in Dayton Ohio. They are a dynasty and loaded with talent, money and tradition. That program and those kids are phenomenal at the highest level in the world. They outscored us 95-84 in Semi-Finals. James Logan, a dynasty in their own right, was defeated in semifinals...by Cesar E. Chavez High school! I want everyone to understand that.
I also want people to understand that on March 2nd of this year after our first WGI competition where we won the Northern California WGI Regional, we were ranked FIRST in the Nation in WGI OPEN Class. Had we remained in Open class, we had a real great shot at a World Championship in Open Class in Dayton. We were promoted 3/4 of the way into the season and really had our hands full in world Class. But, the top executives and associates that represent the sport deemed us as worthy for the prestigious promotion to World Class. A proud incredible accomplishment. Cesar Chavez High school had nothing but praise and new fans everywhere we went and several people sent me text after text during this process to Dayton, Ohio. It was thrilling for our program and just well-deserved praise and RESPECT.
CCHS: Anyone you would like to thank?
GONZALES: I want to thank Jason Garcia and our School Board for the opportunity and unbelievable support for our program. They made it possible for us to compete throughout the season. I also want to thank our CCHS admin for their support and understanding throughout the season. Shout out to all the teachers who showed up for our comps or who gave us words of encouragement throughout the season. Special shout out to Mrs. Jordan who worked with us on the use of the gym. Also shout out to Alfonso Hernandez and our basketball coaches and coach Ortega for communicating in a great professional manner with regards to coordinating practice times in the gym. Also a shout out to the cheerleaders and all those who gave us a great send off to LAX. Lastly, our coaching staff of Sarah McLaughlin, Rich Pagalan and David Garo. These kids shared their talents and insights and time with our students and took them to new heights. Just a great job. Also a great thank you to our indoor percussion unit. These kids worked so hard and never complained and were the heart and soul of our school and community. I love them dearly as sons and daughters. I also want to thank Alex Lopez and Angel Sandoval for driving our equipment to Dayton, Ohio and both being a force in helping us out throughout the trip.
And very lastly NOTHING would have ever happened if my lovely wife, Mrs. G, had not pushed and worked tirelessly for months and months and months to keep hope alive and make this dream a reality. She slaved over this. She stressed over this. She aged over this. When it came to the business and organization of this and the many meetings with admin and everyone else involved, she was the ONLY one that could have pulled this off. She never missed a practice and she had the worry of making sure I was well with my health. She had the weight of the world on her shoulders. Not only that, she is our visual Coach and when you look at all the captions and categories of what she does for our indoor program, she finished 13th in the world with her score at Dayton. That score alone would have put us into finals for World championships. Our other three caption scores were 17th, 17th and 16th. With the top 15 schools going to final, our average score put us at 16th overall in the world, seven tenths of a point from qualifying, i.e. .7 to make it to finals.!!! The slimmest of margins. But Mrs. G's Visual score, she is a world Class finalist...on top of everything else. She is just incredible. She is a mother to our kids at all three sites where she works and is an incredible wife for me. I love her dearly.