Mustang Band makes State 1st time in school history


photo courtesy of band director Holly Taylor

percussion tech Sue Manaois, band director Kevin MacDonald, drum majors Zoey Mosley, Collin Jarvis, Harrison Burnside, band director Holly Taylor, drum majors Lauren Fitzgerald, Landon Foy, band director Garrett Tucker and colorguard director Maegan Benavidez

Arnold Angelo Aureo, Staff Writer

Marching season for the Mustang Band came to a historic end last week at the UIL State Marching Contest in San Antonio. It was the first time the band has advanced to the state level to compete against the best 6A bands in the state. They placed 27th out of 38 schools in the competition.

To qualify for the state competition, the band had to place in the top five bands at the Area UIL Marching Contest. They earned 4th place in a very competitive field behind three Lewisville ISD marching band powerhouses Flower Mound, Hebron and Marcus high schools.

The State Marching Contest is held at the Alamodome, a domed indoor multi-purpose stadium. According to drum major and senior Lauren Fitzgerald, the band had to find ways to adapt to performing in a completely different environment.

“We practiced using earplugs to mimic a different sound environment,” Fitzgerald said. “We also practiced at the Curtis Culwell Center twice, to have an experience of what it is like to perform indoors.”

Fitzgerald also said the band did not expect to make it to finals, since it is their first time attending a state competition. She added

“Even though we did not make it to the state finals, we were still pretty happy and excited just to be there,” Fitzgerald said. “It is amazing to experience what it is like to be there with the other bands who normally make it to state and see them perform.”

Junior Amber Nguyen who plays drums said she initially doubted the band would actually make it to state.

“When they started announcing winners for sixth and fifth places, and we did not hear us get called, I immediately felt shocked,” she said. “I am really happy and proud of our band.”

Nguyen said throughout the season, she saw the band improve every competition and felt that there may be a chance that the band would make it to state.

“This year is a state year, and that added a lot of pressure that made us work hard and improve,” she said.

Clarinet section leader and senior Jaskaran Singh said he felt additional pressure to make sure his section was constantly growing and improving with each practice and competition.

“I made sure to be the best leader I can be by giving my section support and good mentorship,” Singh said. “Honestly it was a bit of a struggle at the beginning, but we put in the work, and we made it. I could not be more proud of my section.”

The Mustang Band has performed well in the past at the Area Marching contests usually falling just short of advancing to state. Senior Talya Tackel recalled how during her freshman year, the band placed sixth at the Area competition and was only two points short of making it into state.

“We were barely defeated by Rockwall,” she said. “It was so devastating, and we were noticeably sobbing. This season, my section made sure to stay on task on the marching field and improved the band overall.”

Band director Holly Taylor said this year’s success was a result of continuous growth and improvement of the band. She added the band did exactly what she told them to do: Each of their performances should be better than the last.

“Every year we change a little bit more and get a little bit better,” Taylor said. “It was not necessarily that this season was completely different from previous seasons, the band just kept moving in the right direction.”

She added the band got better at handling criticisms this season. She also said this helped greatly as they are motivated by criticisms, rather than being beaten down by it.

“We had to keep allowing improvements,” she said. “Success does not come as a result of doing things right one time. It comes as a result of doing things right over and over again.”