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— Our History —

 
 

Instructional Staff

Matt Gilbert
Director

Pete Sapadin
Percussion Caption Head @ Battery Arranger

Wendy Lomeli
Color Guard Caption Head

Jorge Estrella
Color Guard Instructor

 

 

HISTORY OF THE ROYAL WILSON MARCHING ALLIANCE
 

 
 

   Since its inception in 1966, it has been the mission of the Wilson Marching Band and its performance ensembles - Color Guard, Jazz Band, Percussion Ensemble (Drumline), Concert Band, and Wind Ensemble - to represent Glen A. Wilson High School at various competitions and music festivals, support the school through participation in school events including athletics, and to act as ambassadors for Glen A. Wilson High School, the community of Hacienda Heights, and the larger Southern California area at competitions, civic, and cultural events and concert venues throughout the country and abroad.  

     When Glen A. Wilson High School commenced operations at its temporary Rowland campus in 1966, a band, orchestra, and choir program were immediately made available to offer musical training to students. All were under the direction of Mr. Gilbert Adams. Color guard groups, known originally as the Swiss Flags or "Band Aids", and a Drill Team were also formed. The same year, a parent booster group, the Wilson Instrumental Music Club, or "WIM Club", was also organized and later incorporated in 1968. The high school moved to its present campus on Wedgeworth Drive in 1967, and Mr. Adams continued to direct all the musical groups until 1969 when a choral director took over the choirs. The "Band Room" at the new school was in the Den until the music building, with rehearsal, office and storage space was completed in 1969. The Wilson band soon began competing in adjudicated field tournaments throughout Southern California under the auspices of the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA). In 1979, the band won the Sweepstakes Award at the prestigious National City Maytime Band Review.

    The same year, the group undertook a 27-day tour of Europe, visiting ten countries and playing to large crowds in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Belgium. A highlight of the trip was an outdoor concert at the Grand Platz in Brussels. Traffic was halted for four hours, and the performance was broadcast on national television. In 1976, Miss Cindi Kirkley became the sixth Director of the Wildcattet Drill/Dance Team. Under her leadership, this auxiliary unit established a reputation as one of the premier groups of its kind in the nation, garnering national championships for ten years. In 1984, the Wildcatettes participated in the Opening Ceremonies for the Summer Olympic Games held in Los Angeles that year. In 1981 and again in 1985, the band and auxiliary units toured in Hawaii, playing before large and enthusiastic audiences at each of several performances there. Also in 1981, Wilson won the "Battle of the Bands" held in Dodger Stadium. It subsequently won again in 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1987. In 1978, 1981, and again in 1986, the Wilson Band, tall flags, and the drill team proudly represented Hacienda Heights in the globally televised Tournament of Roses Parade held on January 1st in Pasadena.

    Among the RWMA's most prestigious honors was its selection in 1985 as the State of California's official representative to perform at President Ronald Reagan's Second Inaugural Parade. Despite the last minute cancellation of the parade due to January subfreezing temperatures in Washington D.C. the band was able to participate in other inaugural festivities and perform before the President at the Capitol Center in Landover,Maryland. Also in 1985, the band traveled to Sacramento as the official representative for Los Angeles County to the rededication of the new State Capitol Building. Later tours included a 1988 trip to Australia to perform at the World Expo 88 in Sydney, with additional performances in Brisbane. In 1992, as its reputation spread internationally, the band traveled to Spain, where it performed in Madrid and at Expo 92 in Seville. In 1994, the band was invited back to Australia and this time performed at the Sydney Opera House before a full house, as the first amateur group to ever perform live in concert on the stage. 1988 saw the debut of Glen A. 'Nilson High School's own adjudicated field show tournament, The Golden State Field Classic. The GSFC hosts schools from all over Southern California each October at the Wilson Wildcat Stadium. It is a tournament known for the efficiency and friendliness of it organizers, volunteer workers, and host band members.

    In 1997, the internationally known Helsingor Pepegaard all girls band and drum corps from Denmark appeared at the Golden State Field Classic as part of its U.S. tour. In 2002, the UCLA Marching Band made a guest performance. In 2003 and 2004, Pasadena City College, the official Rose Parade Band, also made a guest performance at the GSFC. In the Spring of 1997, the Wilson Concert Band performed on stage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center in Los Angeles. As the Royal Wilson Marching Alliance, the band and color guard in the same year toured in England and Scotland in the summer. The highlight of this trip was an evening performance at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo Overture at Edinburgh Castle. The RWMA was the first American high school band ever to receive an invitation to perform in this dramatic setting during the Tattoo Festival. In addition to the fall season of football games and tournaments, the Concert Band and Wind Ensemble have participated each year in the SCSBOA Spring District Music Festival, where the have consistently earned the highest ratings of Superior or Excellent for their performances of their concert repertoire.

    At the end of 1997, after 31 years of dedicated service to his students, Mr. Adams retired. His legacy remains with the entertainment unit of Glen A. Wilson High School as they continue their tradition of excellence. The Music Building on campus was dedicated and named in honor of Mr. Adams. Mr. Jonathan Chang was selected as the new RWMA Music Director and has continued the tradition of excellence.

    In 1999, the RWMA experienced its best competitive season, with the Band taking first place at the Claremont, Rowland and Arcadia Tournaments, and closing the year by taking daytime sweepstakes at the prestigious Tournament of Champions. The Color Guard and Dance Team won sweepstakes at the Rowland Tournament as well. After the 1999 marching band season, the Dance Team left the field as judging Drill Teams was phased out and their curriculum changed in order to receive UC arts credit. The Wildcattets and RWMA continued to support each other as members volunteered for each other’s competitions, the RWMA’s Golden State Field Classic in the fall and the Dance Team’s Golden Cup in the spring.

    In 2000, the school administration recognized the RWMA's recent achievements and provided Mr. Chang with additional resources. Ms. Elizabeth Orr, a first year teacher, was assigned as Assistant Band Director reporting to Mr. Chang. The newly structured RWMA, consisting of the marching band and Color Guard, also made their first trip under Mr. Chang. They traveled to Northern California, Fairfield, and participated in Northern California's Tournament of Champions in both parade and field show competition. The RWMA had another successful season in 2001-2002. The band placed in every field show competition it entered. This was a first in the group's history. They finished the year again very strong taking first place in their division at the Tournament of Champions! During the winter season, the Color Guard earned a bronze medal in their division at the Winter Guard Championships. On Spring Break, the RWMA traveled to San Antonio, Texas, and performed at the historic Alamo, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and SeaWorld. A fun time was had by all!

    In the 2003 Field Show Competition Season, the RWMA continued its success and completed the season with three First Place finishes and two Second Place finishes including a First Place finish at the Los Altos Field Show Tournament, which was the best finish at that tournament since the early 1980's. The RWMAqualified to participate in the SCSBOA Championship Tournament for the first time since its inception two years ago. This field show tournament includes the ten best bands in each class in Southern California and they compete head to head. The RWMA finished in Seventh Place. During the Spring Break, the RWMA traveled to Orlando, Florida. They performed on the Tomorrowland Stage at Walt Disney World. They also performed at Cape Canaveral at the Kennedy Space Center and toured the NASA complex.

     In 2005, the RWMA was back in the SCSBOA Championship Tournament for a second time. They entered the tournament as the ninth place seed and finished in eighth place. The Wind Ensemble and Concert Bands received 'Superior' ratings at the District Festival. They were the only high school, out of six participating, where both groups received the superior rating. The Color Guard had another successful winter season. They won first place and the overall top score out of 44 units in their class at the Winter Guard Association of Southern California Championships. During Spring Break, the RWMA was on the road again to Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii. They played at the Ala Moana Shopping Center in front of a large and enthusiastic audience including several members of Mr. Chang's family. There was plenty of time to tour Pearl Harbor, the island, and to have some fun in the sun and the blue Pacific Ocean.

     In 2008, the RWMA traveled to Mexico on a cruise along with the Dance Team. The trip included stops in San Diego , Catalina Island, and Ensenada . Along with the Dance Team, the Band and Color Guard were featured in the ship’s showroom on the final evening of the cruise. This was the first time since 1999 that the RWMA and Dance Team put on a production together.

     The summer of 2017 brought the RWMA it's biggest change in 20 years.  After two decades at the helm, Mr. Change decided to step down as director.  With the departure of Mr. Chang, the RWMA is now under the direction of it's third director in history, Mr. Matt Gilbert. Under his direction, the RWMA today will continue its tradition of excellence and is recognized for a well-rounded program. The marching band continues to will continue to be competitive during the marching season in the fall while all the spring ensembles including the Jazz Band, Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Drumline, and Winter Guard continue to remain at the top of their respective classes. Beyond this, a Chamber Music program offers students an opportunity to improve their musicianship in a more intimate setting that leads to a recital that also features soloists. Times have changed and the RWMA has evolved, it continues to put its best foot forward in representing Glen A. Wilson High School .

 

 

RWMA Vision Statement:
"To dedicate ourselves to build upon our foundation of excellence in music and motion through integrity and discipline."

 

RWMA Mission Statement:
"By consistently giving our personal and collective best, we will strive to meet and exceed the standards of the group and all individuals, maximizing potential and achieving success."