Regiment of Gold: on the threshold of success


Jason Lee

Competitions are just around the corner, and the Cerritos Marching Band finds itself busier than ever in preparation for what is to come. This year is unique for the Regiment of Gold for multiple factors, which include a custom made show, a new culture, and the conditions it currently resides in. Head Drum Major Kai Cooray and Band Director Shane Reider were interviewed to discuss these matters in depth.

This is the second year the band is able to perform after the end of online schooling. According to Cooray, the band’s size was “greatly impacted,” and estimated that it was reduced to “half” of its former size. Despite the loss however, Cooray added that he didn’t think there was a “negative impact,” and that the band did a “good job at recovering” from the quarantine.

The Regiment of Gold is currently working on its fall season production: Prehistoric. It is a show which follows the advancements of humanity from all the way from its beginning stages through the invention of the wheel, fire, and more. It is a mix of pop-culture interpretations of Neanderthals and the Ice Age.

The show has generated much excitement from the members of the band for multiple reasons. The entire show is completely unique, with custom music, drill, and interactive props, which include geodes, large logs, and even a large wheel donated by a local professional drum corp. Cooray commented that both the music and the props are “amazing.” Mr. Reider said that the entire show is designed “from scratch” and more complex than last year, where the group was “really young” and just recovering from the quarantine. Jezabelle Pelayo, a Freshman baritone player, agreed that the show is “difficult,” yet stated that it will be “worth it” and exciting to perform.

But with a unique show comes additional logistical problems to deal with. As one might expect, factors such as staff, prop construction, buses, and more generate a large need for funding.

Those needs hit harder this year as the band returned the rights to concession stands at football games back to the CHS Football Booster Program. This means that a large portion of the band’s funding which came from football concessions is now replaced with a gaping hole. In order to lessen the impact, the band had a mandatory Popcornopolis fundraiser earlier in September where each member was required to sell at least five bags of popcorn, and more fundraisers such as these are expected to come. “We don’t really get state funding,” Mr. Reider noted. ”We have to create it ourselves.”

The band has been working on this year’s show since August, and has continued to make large strides in the progress of the show. When looking at how the band excelled, Cooray stated that the band found much success in “getting things done in a somewhat timely fashion” with a “growth mindset.”
But the Drum Major also added some criticism and warnings. He saw that in the same way that the band is strong, there is also a “lot of wasted time.” While many rehearsals are productive days, some have easily become unfocused at times. A lot of “good momentum,” Cooray warned, “was being held back due to “idle chatter” and a “select few people” not putting in full effort.  

Over the transition out of quarantine many changes have occurred to the ROG, especially its culture. 2019(the year before the pandemic) was a year where the band enjoyed a large degree of success in the competitive field. However, it was also marked by, according to some, an unwelcoming and toxic environment. According to Cooray’s experiences, 2019 and this year are “two fundamentally different experiences.” In the present day, it appears that the band has made large changes to this problem. Mr. Reider noted that the band is currently in a “very positive place” and has a “healthy” culture. He also added that the band is working to be a “fun” and “uplifting place to be” while also continuing to keep a competitive attitude when it comes to producing the show. Evan Magsino, a Freshman trumpet player, commented that there is a lot of involvement with the freshmen, an aspect that some believe to have been lacking in the past.

The Drum Major concluded the interview by relating the band’s current position to that of a pendulum. “We have a high amount of potential energy,” said Cooray, “and the goal is to convert as much of that to kinetic energy as we can.” His hopes for his final year in the ROG are to do what he loves and have fun through it all.

To those interested in following the journey of the Regiment of Gold this year, Prehistoric will first be performed at the football game on Oct. 5. The ROG’s first competitive show will be on Oct. 8 at Bellflower High School.