The Exeter Union High School Marching Band did something they did not think they could do until the Monarchs Band Director Kirk Clague gave them some motivation. Little did Clague know that his motivational speech would cost him his hair.
After a disappointing performance in Lemoore early in the season, Clague told his band if they placed in the Western Band Association Championship (WBA) he would shave his head and facial hair.
“I put my hair on the line thinking it would never ever happen,” said Kirk Clague. “I said to myself here is a motivator that will get them going.”
The WBA, which was founded back in 1979 by a group of band directors from Northern and Central California and has grown to become the top competition in California with bands coming from as far as Utah to compete.
The Monarchs started to gain momentum at the Madera Show placing second in Class A with a score of 67.85 just behind Ceres High School’s 69.10.
“I started to suspect they could do it was the next weekend after the Lemoore competition we got the highest music award possible,” said Clague.
The following weekend the Monarchs again received top honors, this time for percussion.
With the WBA championships just a week away, Clague was starting to fear for his hair, and he had every right to be worried.
In the WBA championships Exeter placed 5th with a score of 70.05. It was the first time the Monarchs had ever placed in the championships.
“We may not have won, but we want the people of Exeter to know that we are a competitive band and we are always in the hunt for a championship,” said Clague.
Clague would go on to say, the success of the high school marching band does not start when the students get to high school, it begins at the Wilson Middle School. Wilson Middle School’s band is under the direction of Nora Allstedt.
“No high school band is any good without fine teaching feeding into it, and Nora provides me with great students year in and year out,” said Clague.
On Nov. 28 Clague stuck to his promise, and in front of the entire marching band Clague said good bye to his hair. With Jessie from Sports Cuts holding the clippers, the students had their cameras recording every cut.
“Everyone wanted to see him go bald, but for the seniors it was a lot more than that,” said Monarch Drum Major Danielle Betita. “Up until this point we never thought we could make it to the finals and get placed in the championships.”
With the marching season over, the Monarchs look to next season to improve on what they had started this season and look to bring home their first championship trophy in the WBA.