It is around 9 a.m. in the morning, and Rancho Bernardo High (RBHS) students might be nodding off in their second period class. But if you are in a room near the lush green stadium, your ears might hear the tick-tock of an electronic metronome, almost beating in time to your heart. And if you’re lucky, you might just hear the faintly musical blares of the exalted RBHS Royal Regiment.

Fall season has been filled with news of this group of stellar musicians. In addition to their repeated victory at the Arcadia Championship, they won first at the SCSBOA Band Tournament, having, as diligent clarinet section leader Stephan Ahn “a show of our lives.”

He describes the preceding final rehearsal: “Otani gathered us up and gave a speech about why we perform and what purpose we have. He told us to imagine all the past band alumnis, sitting in the empty RB stands. ‘Make them proud, make them say, ‘I’m glad I was in it.’”

Center drum major Jonathan Zhu echoes this sentiment. “We didn’t know what kind of competition to expect, but we did know that how we performed this season would represent the legacy of the past twenty years of musicians.”

The pay-Bach is not only manifested in trophies – easily a hundred that tower over me – and the section in the RBHS Wikipedia page, but also in their hard work, every day and every night. After school, you can see band students Bizet-ly racing off to the fields near the gym to practice under the blazing sun while responsible bandos supervise. Indeed, the work ethic of these groups of dedicated musicians was truly something that was as equally valuable as their shiny engraved medals, plaques, and trophies.

Zhu reflects that the Royal Regiment had its fair share of bad rehearsals mixed with the good ones. “It was easy to lose sight of what we were working for, and at times we complained. But we pushed through it, and that ability to push through and continue to work hard without giving up is really what defines a Royal Regiment musician.”

And the Liszt of all the exemplary qualities of the RBHS Royal Regiment as a whole? Well, it could go on and on, as long as their reputation as the best concert, marching, anything band Southern California has ever seen.

[divider top=”no”]

Susan Shen is a senior at Rancho Bernardo High School. She participated in a summer internship with 92128 Magazine and is the ‘Bronco Insider’ for the 2013-2014 school year. She can be contacted at