Del Oro senior makes her musical dreams come true

By: Leah Rosasco, Loomis News Correspondent
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A dream that began eight years ago at the Del Oro High School Band Spectacular has become a reality for a local teen. When Del Oro senior Megan Gentes, 17, went to the marching band event with her grandmother, Isabel Foster, of Rocklin, eight years ago, she knew she wanted to be the leader of the band one day. Last year her dream came true when she was selected as Del Oro’s Drum major for the 2012-13 school year. As drum major, Megan leads the 80-member marching band in competitions and performances throughout the school year, including this year’s Del Oro Band Spectacular, a fundraiser for the Del Oro Band program on Oct. 20. “We’ve been practicing a lot of hours for it,” Megan said. Band Spectacular is an annual event that includes a parade down Taylor Road and a competitive field show that takes place at the school. The event features more than 30 schools from around the area and beyond. According to Ben Duncan, Del Oro Band Director, local schools participating in the show include Placer, Oakmont and Whitney high schools. “We also have a school band coming from Idaho to participate as a special guest,” Duncan said. The Del Oro Band typically participates in some 30 competitions and performs at nearly 100 events each school year, including sporting events, community concerts and events such as the town’s Day Before Thanksgiving Parade. Duncan said the band is in good hands with Megan, citing her ability to inspire and command the band. “Megan is hard working and responsible and independent,” Duncan said. “That is what we look for in a leader.” According to Megan, being drum major allows her to see the show from a different point of view. “I like that I lead the band all by myself, but I’m still a part of the band,” she said. “I also hope that my enthusiasm is at least a little bit contagious and it inspires people.” Although she gives what she can to her peers as drum major, Megan said she gets a lot out of the band as well. In addition to teaching her that hard work can be rewarding, she said she values the friendships she has formed. When preparing to start school as a freshman, Megan said many of her classmates were nervous about starting high school and making friends, but she wasn’t. “I’d spent all summer practicing with the band, so I knew I already had 80 friends and I wasn’t nervous at all,” she said. Megan’s mother, Susan Gentes (nee Foster), who graduated from Del Oro in 1972, said Megan picked up her first instrument at the age of nine, shortly after attending that fateful Band Spectacular with her grandmother, and she now plays the flute, the saxophone, and the piccolo. “She was a child who from the moment she held her first instrument had a passion for music,” Susan Gentes said. For the past 12 years, Megan has been involved with music. Before joining the Del Oro band, she was in the school band at H. Clarke Powers Elementary School and has played for several local youth symphonies, including the Placer County Youth Orchestra. According to Margie Hartung, artistic director of the Placer County Youth Orchestra, Megan is an asset to the group because of her technical skill as well as her personality. “She is always very kind and very positive,” Hartung said. “She’s a great role model to her peers.” In addition to her musical accomplishments Megan also maintains a 4.2 GPA and runs cross country at Del Oro. “She has never been a kid to do anything half way,” Susan Gentes said of her daughter. “She is an inspiration to me every day.” Del Oro Band Fall Spectacular What: Parade and band competition benefiting the Del Oro Band program When: Oct. 20, 11a.m. parade, 3:45 p.m. field show Where: Parade on Taylor Road, field show at Del Oro football stadium Cost: Parade is free; field show is $10 Information: 652-7243, ext. 1552, email, or