INDIO, Calif. - The Shadow Hills high school marching band returned to its normal after school rehearsals in the gymnasium Monday afternoon. It was a stark contrast to where they stood on Sunday night. Members of the marching band stood on stage with the group Big Gigantic and performed at the Coachella Music and Arts festival. "Because like you heard us announced and then you heard them cheering, that's just pretty insane to think the general public would enjoy a marching band like that," said Jared Wong, a senior in the band.
Big Gigantic introduced the Knights about halfway through their set. For the next five minutes, the band put on a show for the huge crowd, a dream come true for the young musicians. "Just the idea that these kids would have a chance to experience playing in front of 20,000 people," said band director Paul Bluto. "A once-in-a-lifetime experience, I had to make it happen."
And made it happen in a hurry. The band reached out to Bluto a week before the festival. The band began rehearsing and only worked with Big Gigantic once before actually stepping on the stage. Still, no amount of practice could prepare the band for the roar of 20,000 music lovers. "So, if you want to talk about nerves, you don't really feel it, because it's so loud and you're just in the moment of the music," said Wong.
The band not only got to soak in the Coachella spotlight, they also got to revel in the backstage experience reserved for rock stars. Some even coming face-to-face with their idols. "I was like 'hey, can I take a picture with you, and he was like yeah!' said Hiram Valenciavo, a junior. "Like that, Skrillex, I've been listening to him since he barely started and I met one of my favorite artists and that's really cool."
The best part for the band? The beat goes on. They will join Big Gigantic one more time at the second weekend of Coachella, giving them a chance to soak it all in again. "I want to live it all over again, because it's great just to see all those people having fun with the music that we create," said Valenciavo.