Band to compete at UIL Area Contest Dec. 5


Sarosh Ismail

Concert band rehearses choreography for their upcoming competition outside during third period. Due to the pandemic, the band’s show is shorter than previous years.

The band will compete in the UIL Area Marching Band Contest on Saturday, Dec. 5. 

The UIL State Marching Band Contest is held for schools in conferences 6A, 4A and 2A on even-numbered years. UIL uses an elimination system; bands compete at the regional and area level prior to advancing to state. The band received all 1st division ratings at the region contest on Nov. 14. 

“You compete at the region level against the UIL standards, which is a set of musical and visual expectations, and that’s for a rating,” head band director Andy Sealy said. “Those ratings can be a 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 5th division, 1st being the highest rating. If you make a 1st division at the region level, you are eligible to advance to the area level.”

Subsequent to region, the UIL prescribes a formula that determines how many bands will advance to state from the area round. At area, bands are given a ranking opposed to a rating as given at the region level. The number of bands that advance to the state level is likely to be reduced this year as less bands are competing due to COVID-19. 

“Some schools have opted to completely not compete,” Sealy said. “It’s a difficult process under the best of circumstances, but some schools — as a school district, individual schools or individual portions of the state — have opted not to try and [participate in] competitive marching band because of the challenges of dealing with COVID.”

While the band has continued to pursue a competitive season, they have faced many challenges regarding current health concerns and restrictions.

“Quarantine has definitely been the greatest obstacle – it’s always the things we can’t control that have been beating down on us this year,” senior head drum major Delaney Dyer said. “Kids are being thrown into a marching spot and have to learn 64 pages of drill in two days. It’s definitely difficult, but it’s been cool to see people step up and take on that responsibility.”

UIL is the only contest the band will participate in this season. Normally, the band also competes in Bands of America Championships; however, these contests have been cancelled due to COVID-19. 

“We’re doing the best we can to provide a set of experiences that are as similar to what we would normally provide,” Sealy said. “I want the kids to take away the good elements of our culture — the camaraderie, sense of accountability, accomplishment and professionalism.”

If the band advances to the state level, they will compete at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Dec. 15.

“Regardless of whether we advance or not, this performance is definitely going to be a testament to the hard work we’ve done this far in the season,” Dyer said. “How we’ve [gotten] through those challenges is what we’ll remember and the feeling of walking off the field after [our] performance is the most important thing.”