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Manteca, Sonora making music together during Fridays game
The Manteca High band, accompanied by the cheerleaders, performed during the 1963 class reunion last Friday. - photo by Photo Contributed

It won’t be a battle of the bands so much as an all-star collaboration.

On Friday night, the Manteca High band, under the direction of Anthony Dahl, will share the stage with a special guest during its pregame performance.

It promises to be an emotionally-charged evening at Gus Schmiedt Field as the host Buffaloes (2-1) take on Sonora High (0-3) for the last time as Valley Oak League members.

The Wildcats, a charter member with 147 VOL titles in all sports, will become a member of the Mother Lode League next fall.

(Dwindling enrollment and transportation costs made Sonora an easy target during the Sac-Joaquin Section’s realignment meetings.)

And so the VOL farewell tour begins at Manteca on Friday with their season opener.

Varsity football coach Eric Reis looks forward to the big-game atmosphere. He said Sonora will travel with its storied band, the Golden Regiment under the direction of Yvonne Denton.

Together, Manteca and Sonora’s music-makers will collaborate on the national anthem.

“I thought it would be nice to invite them to play the national anthem with us, since I figured it was a song they probably know,” Dahl said.

The collaboration was inspired by the Cal-Stanford football rivalry.

“Cal and Stanford’s football teams can’t stand each other,” Dahl said, “but the bands can play the national anthem together. I thought that was pretty cool.”

 In other news…

The Manteca High band and cheerleaders performed during the 1963 class reunion at Chez Shari last Friday.

The cheerleaders lined the walkway, performing game-day cheers for the alumni.

“They were surprised to see that the people coming back were so appreciative,” Dahl said. “Everyone that came by us appreciated we were there … that the cheerleaders were there.”