This story was updated on 11/12/18 at 11:30 a.m. to include additional information about the Fulshear Charger Band and comments from its director.
SAN ANTONIO (Covering Katy News)—Three high school marching bands from the Katy Independent School District competed Monday, and Fulshear competed last Wednesday, in the UIL State Marching Band Contest held at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Bands were judged for their musical and marching performances.
The Fulshear Charger Band and Color Guard finished 10th in the 4A State Finals with a score of 44. There are 165 4A bands in Texas and Fulshear’s strong showing is especially impressive given that the program is only three years old.
“This was our first year to be eligible for the state marching contest,” Andrew Lee, Fulshear band director, said. “You’re only eligible every other year. Our first year, we weren’t varsity. Last year, we weren’t eligible. This is really something special. We got straight ones at the regional competition, and at the area competition in Corpus Christi, we finished second.”
The Charger Band and Color Guard program made Lamar Consolidated Independent School District history by being its first band to make it to finals.
“I thought the kids did an amazing job,” Lee said. “I thought they were very well received from the audiences. They gave a very entraining performance, and their best performance in was in the Alamodome.”
Lee said the band’s jazz-influenced show, called “The Grind,” depicts the monotony at of urban life, and included large scaffolds that served as an urban backdrop. Two saxophone players had solo performances in the final movement of the show.
Lee said he was proud of the students, and he knew it meant a lot to them. However, he said he didn’t realize how much it meant to them until they got to perform in San Antonio.
“Trophies are neat, but they are not everything,” Lee said. “We gave our best performance in the Alamodome at the contest. We’ve gotten better every single time we performed. I feel very strongly this is not about how many trophies you win, but in teaching them to be the best they can at something. It’s sort of like a laboratory to learn how to be the best version of themselves. To do that in the marching band is awesome.”
Taylor’s JET (the initials for school namesake James E. Taylor) Band performed a routine called “Dreams,” created by a team of writers and choreographers around the popular hit song “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics.
Mike Ary, Taylor High School band director, said the 230-member band began practicing music and marches during the last week of July.
The JET Band’s performance included the music of senior Sunny Tang, a three-time all-state performer. Ary said Tang used an electric wind instrument, better known as an EWI, which Ary described as a “really unique” instrument that makes sounds resembling those of different instruments.
“Some of the judges didn’t know what it was,” Ary said. “One judge thought it was an oboe, then it sounded like an electric guitar all of a sudden.”
While the Taylor band used an unusual instrument, the Seven Lakes performance was considered a little outside the box. It’s called “Dyevergent” and is about the life of a squid, thus the “dye” in the title.
“When we revealed the show at the end of last school year, there were a lot of wide eyes and not knowing what to think,” John Mays, Seven Lanes band director, said.
But as the students began learning the music and marching routines, they began to buy into the program, Mays said.
Of the 42 Class 6A bands competing, the Seven Lakes Spartan Spirit Band finished in 20th place, with a score of 103. Katy’s Roarin’ Band from Tigerland finished 32nd, with a score of 156. The JET Band finished 34th, with a score of 167.
“I thought it could not have gone any better,” Mays said. “The kids have been working extremely hard since last July, nonstop until the beginning of November, and we could not have asked for them to give a better performance than they did in the state prelims on Monday. We as a staff are extremely pleased and happy with how everything went.”
The Roarin’ Band from Tigerland and the JET Band staged a joint halftime performance at Thursday’s Katy-Taylor football game, the theme of which was a salute to veterans. The Seven Lakes Spartan Band performed at Friday’s Seven Lakes-Cinco Ranch football game.
All three bands will continue to play as their respective schools compete in the football playoffs. Katy will play Fort Bend Travis at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Legacy Stadium. Seven Lakes will play Ridge Point at 7 p.m. Friday at Hall Stadium in Sugar Land. Taylor will play Dulles at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mercer Stadium.
“It was a great experience for our kids to be able to get the band back in the contest after not having been there for the past 16 years,” Ary said. “I think our students peaked at the right time. That was our best performance of the year at state. They did what we asked them to do.”
Ary said efforts have begun to plan and create next year’s routines.
Flower Mound, in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, won the Class 6A competition with a score of 10.