(I have been trying to get this up for a week so the contest was actually two weeks ago by now.)
Well, we are back. Last week was CRAZY.
The band left Tuesday, to the cheers of the entire school. We (Brad and I) left shortly after the band and arrived in the late afternoon in San Antonio, where we met up with my mom, my sister, my brother and his whole family for dinner at Alamo Cafe. We then hit the sack early as Brad had to meet the field crew downstairs at 7:30AM Wednesday. Mom and I left later, just in time to see the band perform. At 10:30AM, we took the field in the 5A UIL State Marching Band Competition!!!!
In a speech Mr. Golden (Peter’s band director) gave to the band on Thursday, he talked about that moment when they walked through the tunnel and entered the Alamodome as one of his greatest memories.
For me, the moment I will never forget was at the end of their show, on their very last note, they all look up at the judges with this “I dare you!” look on their faces. I was overwhelmed with how amazing their performance was – among their best ever for sure – and then I looked over and saw tears rolling down my mom’s face. It was her first time to see Peter march in person, and it probably wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t made it down to San Antonio. There’s was just something about seeing my mom love my kid that touched my heart.
We had no doubt we would be among the top 10 bands to make it to the finals.
We were wrong.
There were 5 judges and they scored us in a bunch of categories: our marching, our music, flag corp, drum line, etc. From these scores, we were given a composite score – again, as per each judge. That score was compared to the scores that judge gave all the other bands, and then we were ranked in order from 1 to 35. Once all the judges’ ranks were in, they were added together and that number determined where we fell in the prelims. So I don’t know what the individual scores were, but I do know that the five judges ranked us as follows: 7th place, 12th place, 7th place, 21st place, and 12th place. Here is a screenshot of the scores from the UIL website:
The long and the short of it was that if we had been ranked four places higher by any one judge, we would have made it into the top ten. If they had adopted a scoring system where the highest and lowest scores were dropped, we would have made it into the finals. And if the judge from Harlingen ISD had not ranked us 21st, we would have easily made it into the top ten, and according to Mr. Golden, a lot of sources have told him we would have easily placed in the top 5 in the finals. But as you can see, we weren’t the only band with one judge who just didn’t like our show keeping us out of the finals. The band that placed 11th suffered a similar fate. And when it’s all said and done, placing 12th in the entire state of Texas in class 5A isn’t that bad, especially for a school that opened 8 years ago.
Back to the day of competition…after taking a group picture and after the drum majors were interviewed, the band went to put away their horns and headed back to the buses to change out of their uniforms. On the way to the buses, we were able to catch Peter for just a second. And we were able to snap a few pictures.
I love these pictures because of the look of pure joy on Peter’s face, combined with the obvious closeness of my mom and my oldest child.
And despite finding out later that evening that his band wouldn’t progress to the finals, Peter has remained happy with their performance and just glad they made it to the “big show” of marching bands. The fact that he got to miss three days of school didn’t hurt his mood either. 🙂
Well, the band did it! They placed 4th in prelims and 3rd in finals and they are going to the State Marching Band Contest to compete on Nov. 8th!!!! Only the 3rd High School Band in Frisco to ever make it this far, this is the first year Lone Star High School will send a band to the state competition. The kids, the parents, the directors are all beside themselves. I’ve never seen Peter so happy (or so tired!!!) as he was last night. (The picture to the right – the selfie – is last week at Regionals.)
I uploaded the video again only to discover there’s a setting in the lower right hand corner when you play the video that allows you to change the quality. So if it’s grainy, check that and make sure it’s at the highest quality. (I tried to point out Peter’s position in the picture to the left – he is at the very corner of the square they form at the very beginning of the show.)
A few fun facts as you watch their performance:
During the first of the three “movements” or parts of the show, watch the drum majors. The one in the middle, Megan, will change from 4/4 to 3/4 time and back again several times. That’s because the band is actually playing in two separate time signatures!!! It’s one of those things the judges will notice even though most people in the stands won’t.
The theme, Boundaries, is not just because the band is separated into two parts. They actually “cross boundaries” multiple times during the show but you have to be watching to catch it. For instance, Mason Martinez, a drum major, plays with the saxophones during their quintet and later on, several of the flags switch places with the band members.
Toward the beginning, notice that the drum line removes their drums and runs over behind the props. This is another “boundary crossing” that was planned, but what they didn’t know was that during that section, when the big props are in front of the brass on the left hand side of the field, no one can see the drum majors! The solution? One of the drummers, hidden by the banners, faces the band and directs them through that section! Instant drum major!
When the saxes go up for their quintet (about 3 minutes into the video), there are actually 7 that march over. Two of the seven, instead of going up onto the stage, duck behind the stage. They are the two bassoon players that have a soli after the saxes are done!
When the band turns their back, they let the yellow sashes down out of a little hiding place in their uniforms. (The band parents made all the sashes, as well as all the banners and props!) Peter told me everyone cut the fingertips of their first finger and thumb of their gloves out so they could grab the sash without having it stick to their gloves. At one performance early on in the season, Peter tried to help someone whose sash had not unrolled completely by grabbing it when his back was turned to the audience. The whole thing fell off and ended up on the ground!!! Peter felt awful.
When the bassoon players first start their soli, there is a mellophone player off to the left, adding to the dissonance. That’s Thomas, a good friend of Peter’s, who is a Senior this year. (The mellophone section has lamented all season that this is the only place the mellophones are really singled out in the entire show. Mellophone players can be such prima donnas. Lol.)
At the Wylie contest, the percussion judge placed our band first in both the prelims and finals, and our percussion section won the prize for best in show for both!
During the announcements after the finals performances last night, I was home with Matthew and Samuel. (Brad was on loading crew, so stayed with the band. It was too cold to keep the other boys out that late so I brought them home.) Peter wanted to share the experience with us, so he FaceTimed us during the announcements. Because Lone Star placed Fourth in the prelims, and the order rarely changes from prelims to finals, the announcement of Southwest HS in Ft. Worth for Fourth place, really scared our band. You could have heard a pin drop. But when they called out our band for Third place, our kids just went NUTS. It was so much fun to watch.
Part of the reason I have been so excited about all of this is not just for Peter’s sake. I was a Senior in 1988 when our band – Pearsall High School Marching Band – went to State in class 3A. We made the trip to Austin as all the state finals used to be held at Memorial Stadium on the UT campus. (Also, all the classes participated every year, rather than every other year like it is now.) I played mellophone and had a big solo during “Starlight Express,” our ballad. We made it into the finals, then placed first in the entire state that year. It was the only time Pearsall has ever accomplished that. I have spent the last almost 30 years trying to find a video of our show that year but to no avail. Nonetheless, that was a day I will never forget for as long as I live, and I’m so glad my son will get to travel to San Antonio to compete in his own State Marching Band Contest. Good luck to the Lone Star Band – you’ll always be first in my heart!!!!!
We performed this afternoon and just learned we made it into the final 10. We march tonight to see who goes to State!
Also, a funny story about Samuel…
Reason number 537 why teachers aren’t paid enough…
The book fair was this week. Samuel bought a pen that wrote in invisible ink and became visible under the pen’s UV light. Then he went to ILA and did an assignment.
Using the invisible ink.
He claimed he thought the teacher wasn’t going to grade it. When he turned it in to her, she looked at the paper then back up at him.
“There’s nothing here,” she said.
“I know. I wrote it in invisible ink,” he replied.
She just stared up at him.
“I’ll trace over it with a real pen” he said, walking back to his desk.
WE ARE GOING TO STATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We placed 3rd in the finals!!!!!!! Here’s our finals performance. The video quality is low but I might be able to upload it again at higher resolution. State competition is Nov. 8 in San Antonio’s Alamodome!