As the Eagle Regiment Prepares for States, Band Director Keeps Things Fun 1
Eagle Regiment in Orlando. Courtesy of Catherine Walker.

By: Jill Fox

With their last home game and final tri-county competition under their belts, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Eagle Regiment is busy preparing for the FMBC State Championship.

In their last local competition of the season on November 2, at Park Vista Community High School, the Eagle Regiment, comprised of 152 students, won Best Music and came in second place overall with a score of 90.75  — less than a full point behind their rival, West Broward High School.

After some prop and electronic malfunctions in Saturday’s competition, the group did not come out on top. However, they did have a great musical and visual run, according to band director Stephen Rivero.

They may not be thrilled with their second-place finish, but Rivero said, the students are pumped up and ready to have a great week and move forward.

With three weeks to prepare for the state competition on November 22 in Daytona Beach, they will continue their regular practice routine, with one additional full-day camp to refine their show.

“I don’t care if we come in first place or last place, we’re better than we were, and that’s what we always need to do: be better, and the results will come,” said Rivero, who after just three months directing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, added the students are getting used to his approach to music.

“I think everyone is starting to understand the philosophy behind our leadership system and how we’re moving forward, and that’s why things are starting to get some nice chemistry to them now,” he said.

Competitions aren’t the only thing on the horizon for the Eagle Regiment. They are already planning and fundraising for their trip to London in January 2021, where they will take part in the New Year’s Day parade.

“I’m a believer that it’s not all about competing,…we have to have fun,” Rivero said, “That’s why we’re going to London and why we marched in the Disney parade.”

Rivero is referring to a trip the group took in October. The Eagle Regiment was invited to participate in a parade at the Magic Kingdom the day after traveling to Orlando, performing twice and earning fifth place in the Bands of America competition.

The Eagle Regiment has improved throughout the season by studying video and listening to adjudicators’ commentary. According to Rivero, they are getting versed in the strategy behind it.

“I told the students last night, they made a huge turn; they really excelled this past week.”

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Jill Fox
Jill Fox
Jill Fox is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. She has worked in public relations and television for over 20 years. Fox lives in Parkland with her husband and their two children.