LAS VEGAS - For five to 10 years, Eldorado High School didn't have a band, leaving many to wonder why.
"I've always heard about football and marching bands. I wasn't really sure about that here. I didn't really understand," said 8th grader Bailey Willoughby.
"I don't think anyone really knows. It's kind of hard to give an answer," said band director Will Crawford.
That is no longer the case. New principal John Anzalone has a plan to use fine arts, like the band, to make Eldorado a destination high school, not a place students avoid.
He hired Crawford this summer and tasked him to gather musicians.
"My first day of band camp, we had five people, and we've been slowly building. We're up to fifty two I think now," Crawford said.
"We're having fun, and people are talking about us and joining. We just got five (new) students yesterday," said drum major Judith Rodriguez.
Students at nearby middle schools are also allowed to join, further cementing the idea Eldorado is a place to be.
Willoughby says she practices on the high school campus every day. "It's hard work, but it gets easier as you practice more. Mr. Crawford has helped me get better at the bass drum."
The uniforms look sharp and new, but they were actually brought out of mothballs. Whoever originally ordered the uniforms had the foresight to buy adjustable fit. Principal Anzalone admitted he was worried he'd have to find money for a tailor.
The impact on the students is noticeable. They clearly smile and have fun when they practice.
"These kids were, how can I put this, had no sense of self worth. No self-esteem," Crawford said.
"We're doing good. We're slowly building, but we're getting there," Rodriguez said. "I hope we do improve and get better and get back to where we used to be before we fell apart."
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