LAS CRUCES – The day of the Las Cruces High School Showcase Band competing in the Zia Marching Band Fiesta on Saturday started on an extremely sour note.
Group officials woke up in the morning to find someone had stolen a Penske truck containing over $ 200,000 worth of equipment, instruments and speakers from the parking lot of a hotel in Albuquerque before the spectacle.
âAs soon as we heard the news, everything froze and our hearts collapsed,â Lorraine Leachman, LCHS Showcase Band fundraising chair, said in a press release.
But thanks to local groups who loaned equipment, and parents who donated their time and personal vehicles, the show continued.
The LCHS group finished seventh out of 19 performers in the statewide competition – held at the University of New Mexico – and at the end of the day the stolen truck and some of the equipment were recovered.
âThe wave of support has been incredibly touching. I am so proud of the way the students encouraged each other, despite the challenge presented this morning, and put on a wonderful show! “Said Ty Frederick, LCHS Group Director in a press release.
Mason Leachman, son of Lorraine and brother to two of the group, said Saturday morning started as planned, with group members waking up early to catch a bus to Albuquerque early enough to train and getting ready for their 3pm show.
But when the 107 group members pulled into the parking lot of a school in Las Cruces, they discovered that the equipment that was supposed to be waiting for them in Albuquerque had been stolen overnight.
Mason explained that the equipment of large groups – drum kits, pianos, synthesizers, etc. – is often carried separately for performance. In this case, LCHS gang leaders drove the Penske truck full of equipment to Albuquerque on Friday and parked it in a hotel parking lot.
When news got out of the stolen truck, gang leaders across the state offered to help, Mason said.
He said the New Mexico Pride Marching Band NMSU – which did not travel with the hawaii football team – helped lend a hand.
Members of the NMSU gang brought the necessary equipment to the Las Cruces parking lot. Since most of them were large musical instruments too big to fit on the bus with the kids, the group’s parents drove the equipment to Albuquerque in their own vehicles. A parent hauled in a trailer full of props for the group’s “Lion King” themed show, Mason said.
âSome of these parents hadn’t even planned to go, but they stepped up their efforts,â he said.
To accommodate the LCHS group members – and their gear – arriving in Albuquerque a little later than expected, other high school groups participating in the fiesta have shifted their practice and performance hours.
Steven Smyth, who heads the Pride of New Mexico, said his group loaned LCHS various drums found in a marching band. He said the Organ Mountain High School group loaned their sound system and other groups loaned instruments such as marimbas and xylophones.
“The band’s community here in Las Cruces is extremely close,” he said, noting that he had discovered the stolen equipment from another member of the NMSU music department, who is the father of the LCHS band. .
“As soon as I heard it was ‘what do you need?’ said Smyth.
âBasically it’s just about paying up front,â he continued, saying Frederick had helped the NMSU group in previous years.
Shawn Silva, director of the OMHS group, said he had the same reaction when he discovered the stolen equipment.
Silva said Frederick had informed him that a sound system would be very helpful. It is a computer-programmed system of speakers, microphones and amplifiers. A parent from the OMHS group helped set it up for the LCHS performance, Silva said.
As OMHS was scheduled to perform right after LCHS, the audio system remained on the pitch for the Knights show.
Smyth said he was happy to see the LCHS and OMHS groups advance to the Zia Fiesta Final.
Overall, seeing the cooperation between the groups was a positive day, he said. “It’s a bad situation that turned into a good situation.”
OMHS took second place in the competition. But, Silva, said he couldn’t be happier with the way the day went.
âI am very proud of our community,â said Silva. “When we meet like this, there is nothing better.”
Find the stolen truck
Mason said that within hours of the group’s performance, the stolen truck was recovered within the city limits of Albuquerque.
However, much of the equipment in the back of the truck was missing.
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âAlmost all of the electronic equipment was gone,â Mason said.
He said some items were insured and band officials are still keeping a record of what was lost.
In the meantime, the LCHS Showcase Band is asking for community donations of any amount to help students complete the season and replace stolen equipment.