Twenty years ago, only 18 students were in the Palm Springs High School Band. Now, more than 400 students play an instrument.
As the program grows, so must the facilities. Friday, PSHS revealed it's new performing arts center.
"We had a room that fit about 70, and we used to fit 160 into it," says Music Director Brian Ingelson. "It was incredibly difficult, it was hot, it didn't smell very good, and it was very difficult to hear."
The old room was the Ramon Academy Administration Building, torn down in 2012 with roaring support from band members. To the tune of $5.5 million, these young men and women have a new practice facility, performance room, and in-house recording studio.
"Whenever we'd practice in the old band room... it blows out your ears, it's too small, it's cramped, it's hot," describes bassist and trumpet player Curtis Vaughn. "In here, your ears don't ache afterward, and there's a lot of room. It's just so much better."
"Whenever we would set things up, we would be running into stands, racks," vocalist Melissa Castillo agrees. "It was hard getting 130 people out during games and practices."
Months of practice in those conditions paid off. The band marched in President Obama's 2013 Inaugural Ceremony.
"All the students that are here now, and have come before, have earned this building," praises Ingelson.
The band celebrates an official grand opening for the public on Thursday, September 19th.
Palm Springs High School is located at 2401 E Baristo Rd., Palm Springs.