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Band together

Senior George Tajonera unites the Eagle Regiment as brass captain and drum major.

George+Tajonera+energizes+the+Eagle+Regiment+as+he+leads+them+in+rallying+for+the+SMCHS+football+team.+
George Tajonera energizes the Eagle Regiment as he leads them in rallying for the SMCHS football team.

George Tajonera energizes the Eagle Regiment as he leads them in rallying for the SMCHS football team.

Dessi Gomez

Dessi Gomez

George Tajonera energizes the Eagle Regiment as he leads them in rallying for the SMCHS football team.

Dessi Gomez, Arts & Entertainment Editor

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Cheers erupt from the Eagle’s Nest as an SMCHS football player enters the end zone for a touchdown. The Eagle Regiment matches the screams and shouts with its own musical medley. One man is responsible for adding to the celebration of the nest. One man is responsible for guiding a seamless halftime show from band and color guard — and that man is senior and drum major George Tajonera.

“He has a lot of positive energy and he really understands the dynamic of what it is to lead the group,” said orchestra teacher Michael Whang. “He’s always had an energy about him that gets people involved on the spirit side of things.”

Tajonera has participated in band all four years at SMCHS. It helped him connect to the school as an incoming freshman.

“I came from a public middle school, so I didn’t have a lot of friends coming into SM,” said Tajonera. “I was really into music and into being a part of a team. I found out about the marching band and it was two things combined that I loved, so I joined.”

After three years under different drum majors, the main student leaders of band, Tajonera went through an interview process with the Eagle Regiment staff to apply for the position of drum major. What happened after came as a bit of a surprise to him.

“I wasn’t expecting to get drum major because I’m also the brass captain and usually a person doesn’t serve as two roles,” Tajonera said. “It was shocking and rare that I got two, I was happy and nervous.”

Tajonera received the news at the band banquet in May of his junior year. He is the single drum major for the 2016-2017 season, as opposed to the pair of co-drum major who came before him.

“He’s never had to be the vocal person to command the group,” Whang said. “He’s always been able to do it by setting the example for younger students. He’s a true leader in the sense that he doesn’t have to say anything to be able to lead.”

As brass captain, Tajonera is responsible for warming up the brass section which consists of tubas, trumpets, mellows, etc. as well as making sure they are equipped properly. He displays flexibility in transitioning from brass captain to drum major.

“He’s really become a lot more comfortable with himself and confident in his abilities,” said senior Sabrina Torres, front ensemble captain. “He is very good at going with the flow and adjusting.”

Duties of the drum major include scheduling practice and rehearsals. Tajonera also has to keep in contact with the different parts of the band, front ensemble, brass, woodwind and drumline, so that every band member knows what they have to do.

“He makes sure everyone’s comfortable,” Torres said. “With George you don’t really feel like you’re being alienated.”

Tajonera wants to put a unique twist on the drum major position. He seeks to improve both leadership and the whole band. One way he does this is by making everyone feel welcome.

“I want to bring a little more hype and fun to it,” Tajonera said. “I want to lighten it up a little so that’s why the leaders and I tried to push for the pep rally thing to happen. We’re trying to find more songs that connect with the student section to get more involved in it and make it more fun for everyone.”

By providing constant positive encouragement, a fun work environment and strong work ethic, Tajonera plans to make the most of his job.

“It’s empowering because you control the band but it also comes with responsibility,” Tajonera said. “It’s enjoyable to hear your peers blaring their instruments right in your face.”

Another reward for Tajonera is the growth of his bandmates. He loves watching the process of their development. He pays close attention to it after going through it himself.

“Seeing the progress of how people can go from nothing and through hard work and time and positive feedback, they can grow,” Tajonera said. “It’s nice seeing that final product.”

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The student news site of Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, California.
Band together