Q&A: What it takes to be a soloist in the McQueen marching band

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The McQueen marching band is performing at the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix during winter break. The Fiesta Bowl is a college bowl game on Dec. 30, but it also includes a parade on Dec. 27.

The marching band is performing in the parade and the bowl’s field show. McQueen’s field show features three playing soloists: senior AJ Richard on trumpet, junior Alex Fanetti on mellophone (marching french horn), and senior Billy Ames on clarinet. As the marching band prepares for the event, the Excalibur sat down with the three of them for a Q&A about what it’s like to be a soloist in the marching band.

Q: How were you chosen for this solo?

A: (Billy Ames) I put in a lot of years, and work into band. And through the honor band and all the extra work I have put in and the loyalty I have showed. I believe Moffit gave me a solo.


Q: How did you feel when you got chosen to solo?

A: (AJ Richard) I felt pretty good, I was pretty pleased with it, as it was a really nice solo. I was really happy with that.


Q: How long did it take you to memorize it?

A: (Ames) It was pretty simply, I would say a day tops. It wasn’t too bad, it was mostly understanding the rhythm, listening to it a little bit. And just playing it, and making it sound good.


Q: How was it to perform your solo for the first time?

A: (Richard) It is always kind of exhilarating, you get a little nervous, but you practice it enough you know it’s going to be fine.


Q: How do you feel playing your solo?

A: (Ames) When I am playing it in front of an audience, I always try to make it emotional as possible, to make them really feel something with dynamic changes because really life always changes, so you need to make the music do the same [in order] for people to connect.


Q: What qualifies you for the solo, personally?

A: (Alex Fanetti) I feel like I have worked to play it, and I have worked pretty hard throughout my playing high school career. I like having solos because it shows off my hard work.


Q: Was there a lot of competition for the your solo?

A: (Fanetti)  For the first one, 10 people tried out, I was nervous. I had a little bit of nerves, auditioning jitters.

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