Special to The Progress
Our Big Blue Band is finally taking a well-deserved rest after yet another remarkable year! The group begins work in early August and doesn’t stop until Memorial Day.
The fall saw our band traveling to football games and marching contests. In October, the drum majors were named Outstanding in Class at the Hill Country Marching Festival in Fredericksburg. The following week, the percussion was named Outstanding in Class at the Sinton Marching Festival. The band also received straight 1’s and Best in Class at that same contest.
UIL Marching Contest in Sinton was the scene of the band’s second consecutive straight 1 rating and fourth consecutive overall division 1, the first step in the quest for Sweepstakes. The band advanced to the area round of marching and was eliminated there.
December is all-region band time. This year, the band placed 21 students in the all-region band. The most of any school in the region! Congratulations to all for their hard work and hours of practice.
Eleven students advanced to the area round of the all-state auditions. Ella Lowrance and Samantha Cantu both placed first at area and were awarded spots in the ATSSB All-State Band. They performed at the TMEA Convention.
The students outdid all previous records by earning over 40 medals at UIL Solo and Ensemble Contest in February. Another record was shattered when 11 students qualified for the State Solo and Ensemble Contest on Memorial Day.
In March, the band joined the Three Rivers Bulldog Band for the county fair parade. After the parade the kids had pizza and drinks in the TR Band Hall. It was a great time for all!
April brings Concert andSight-Reading Contest. This year, the event was held in Rockport. The band played their toughest program ever, coming off the 4A contest required music list. The band played really well on stage and sight read even better! They were given straight 1’s from all judges for the second consecutive year! With these final two steps complete, the band earned the coveted Sweepstakes award for the fourth consecutive year.
On May 4th-6th, the band traveled to San Antonio and competed in the Alamo Showcase of Music. This is a nationally known festival that attracts bands from all over the southern United States. For the second consecutive year, the band received straight 1’s, was named Best in Class and also awarded Overall Outstanding Band.
The final “live” competition for the band is the prestigious UIL Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest. To advance to this level a soloist or ensemble must have earned a top division I rating at the region contest on the most difficult level (class I) event. All solos are performed memorized. Anyone at TSSEC has already won their respective regions. It is not unusual for a judge to hear students all day and award less than 5 division I ratings. This year, a record 8 soloists and 2 ensembles qualified for state! Special congratulations go to freshman Mandy Whitaker who earned the elusive division I on a clarinet solo. Mandy is the first clarinet that has earned a I at state in many years. The euphonium trio of Samantha Cantu, Zachory McAlister and Caleb White also were given a I for their performance.
The band has continued its winning ways in state concert competition this summer. Their performance of “Arabian Dances” at UIL contest last April placed first at the area round of the ATSSB Outstanding Performance Series state concert competition and advances to the state finals in late July. This is the fifth consecutive year a band from George West has advanced to the state finals.
Congratulations to this fine group of young musicians. Several will be entering college as music majors this fall. Many will return next year to carry on the tradition and go for Sweepstakes #5! Good job, band!!