An 8-minute mash-up of Billy Joel songs earned the Desert Hot Springs Marching Band a standing ovation and a state championship.
The "Mighty 39 Golden Eagle Regiment" took on 70 Division 1 bands at West Valley High School in Hemet last weekend. Out of eight finalists, the group brought home the award-winning performance to entertain their friends and family Friday after school.
"We've been waiting our whole high school career for this," said 11th-grader and lead trumpet player, Gerardo Velasquez. "Now that we finally got it, it just feels amazing."
"I cried. My heart broke," said band parent Angelica Garcia. "They practiced very hard. They really deserve it."
Drum Major Miguel Montes said it was an honor and privilege to lead his band mates to victory his senior year.
"We wanted to let the people know and show them we won state," Montes said. "This show, our hard work and perseverance won the state championships."
The band practiced for 40 hours a week for 15 weeks to become state champs and proudly hang their plaque and banner on the golden eagles campus. The teens did more than just march and play tunes to get there.
"We incorporated wing-chung kung fu, gymnastics aerobics, you name it, to build up cardio and out perform the other bands," said band director Brian McDaniel.
McDaniel said it was a dream-come-true for the band no one thought could win.
"For whatever reason, Desert Hot Springs has a bad reputation that bleeds on to our kids. Our kids are the best in the Valley. It's nice the have an outside source saying so," McDaniel said.
"We worked so hard and to be able to show our friends and family, it's great," Velasquez said. "We feel so proud of ourselves."