LA PUENTE – Although Nogales High School’s marching band has been rehearsing and performing the same nine-minute field show since July, it still squeezed in an extra practice during winter break. “We’re trying to make this show perfect,” said assistant band director James Plunkett. Every detail, every step and every note must be flawless when the 120-student band competes at the Fiesta Bowl National Band Championship in Phoenix on Sunday. The invitation-only competition features 15 high school bands nationwide and is one of many Fiesta Bowl festivities, which concludes Monday with the Ohio State vs. Notre Dame football game. “It’s a big deal for Rowland Unified School District and Nogales High School,” said band director Brad Pollack. “It’s getting our name out there and Nogales’ reputation in a positive way.” Nogales’ band, known as the Noble Regiment, also will be marching in the Fiesta Bowl parade, which is watched by 400,000 people. It is performing an original show called “Chain Reactions” by John Meehan. Pollock described it as the breaking apart and coming together of music and visuals. The four-hour band practices on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays usually start with stretching, warm-up and a mile run to raise endurance and lung strength. In some parts of the show, students have to move fast and play their instrument at the same time, said Michelle Blanchard, who will help teach the band in January. “It’s very much like an athlete, the same conditioning an athlete would go through,” Blanchard said. The four-day trip to Phoenix costs about $600 per student. After fundraisers, students will pay about $100 each. Students said they’re excited about going to the Fiesta Bowl. Some of them performed there two years ago, when the band was first invited to compete. But this year in particular has been an incredible season, Pollock said. “They work really hard, and rehearsals have been … 99 percent pleasant and fun,” Pollock said. The entire band staff told him they’ve enjoyed coming to work this year, Pollock added. Senior Jennifer Ortiz, who plays the trumpet, said she doesn’t mind the long rehearsals, and her band friends are like a second family. Even though they’ve been playing the same music for several months, the practices don’t get boring. Sophomore Adura Awosika added: “When you play it more, you get better and better, and you like it more.” In the end, the long hours of practice are worth it, said senior Gina Colacion. “After you perform, there’s a feeling you get of accomplishment.” [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2513 AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!