Now, I feel certain someone has done this before. High school football — and all the pageantry surrounding it — has been around so long that someone has to have done something like this before.
But I’ve been in the newspaper business, now, for three decades. I started out as a high school sports stringer. And I’ve spent the last decade collecting and writing about cool ideas. And in all that time I’ve never seen anything quite like this before.
My paper — the Orange County Register of Santa Ana, Calif. — branched out of the usual high school sports schtick this weekend by putting emphasis on high school bands. Our OC Varsity Arts section, which covers to music, art and theater programs in area high schools, put out an entire eight-page Sunday section devoted to high school marching bands.
Click on this — or any page here today — for a much larger look.
Pictured on the front are members of the Mission Viejo, El Dorado, Fountain Valley and Trabuco Hills high school marching bands. The cover shot is by Leonard Ortiz. Find more of his work here.
The section was designed by Laila Derakhshanian. Laila started out here at the Register back in 2002, worked a bit for the Los Angeles Times, was art director for OC Weekly magazine and then returned to the Register in April as a senior designer. Find her portfolio site here.
Pages two and three address the hard work and 12-hour days high school band members put in over the course of summer, preparing for the fall season.
Pictures are by staffers Kevin Sullivan and Paul Rodriguez. The text is by Jackie Moe.
Page four really knocks me out: It’s a full-page graphic devoted to marching bands, researched and written by Sandy Coronilla and designed and drawn by Brian Moore.
In particular, I love the bit at the lower right, explaining why marching bands use specialized instruments that make them easier to carry.
“The pit” — the area where instruments are too large to be carried onto the field — reminds me of a scene from a famous old Woody Allen movie.
Fabulous stuff. (The graphic, I mean, not the video. Although it’s pretty cool, too.) And most of it was researched locally, by talking to band directors at Costa Mesa and Sunny Hills high schools.
Next comes a three-page segment in which local band members are featured with gorgeous Leonard Ortiz portraits and brief Jackie Moe text vignettes.
At the bottom left of page seven, band members are asked to share some of their favorite memories of band camp.
The back page is a marketing ad for a program that offers bands a $100 gift voucher to a local music shop for a referral for a four-week subscription to the Register.
Average daily circulation for the Orange County Register is 356,165.