The Marching Band will be competing in the annual Delta Band Review at Antioch High School on Saturday, Sept. 30. After being awarded second place last year, the class has been practicing non-stop in hopes of a win to add to the collection of plaques strategically placed all over the classroom.
Marching Band students are not the only ones competing or coming home with trophies. In the past few years, Freedom's Orchestra has received superior and excellent ratings in its division at the Delta Band Reviews, in which Color Guard placed second.
Drum Line also won first place overall at the Sweepstakes.
The Jazz Band has participated in the Los Medanos College Jazz Festival and the Cal State East Bay Festival, and the Orchestra participated in the Band and Orchestra Festival in Benicia.
A few shining talents have caught everyone's eye this year. Andrew Odello is a senior drum player entering his final year of high school band competitions. Junior C.C. Brown plays the drum set, trombone and flute for both the Marching Band and the Jazz Band.
However talented these students are, they would be nothing without their instructor. For eight years Chilcott has been teaching instrumental music at Freedom. When he was hired in 1998, there were only 35 members in every band class, including Jazz, Marching, Symphonic, Orchestra and Concert. Since then the class has grown to 80 musicians plus Color Guard.
Chilcott has been teaching for 22 years and has been playing instruments for much longer. "Trumpet is my main one, but I can play most instruments, but to varying degrees of success," he said.
It is clear that Chilcott loves what he does. In high school he excelled in music, and when his teacher asked him to help other students, he eagerly agreed. "I got a spark," he said. "I felt good watching somebody else succeed."
When first employed by Freedom, Chilcott taught all the instrumental music classes and Choir. Band has now expanded to five classes: Orchestra, Advanced Jazz, Intermediate Jazz, Symphonic Band and Concert Band. Each class is designed for different interests, but shares a common goal: each competes, whether it is mandatory or voluntary, and supports the others at competitions.