Frisco ISD will have two high school band programs, Wakeland and Lone Star, competing for the UIL State Marching Band title November 8 at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio.
The two band programs each incorporated classical music, innovative precision marching, and colorful choreography to advance at the 5A Area B competition at Little Elm Saturday in possibly the most exhilarating Area competition in Frisco ISD band history.
This marching band season has had band enthusiasts buzzing since all nine high schools earned exclusively superior ratings at the regional level. Lebanon Trail is ranked by the UIL as a 4A school due to enrollment numbers. All of the other Frisco ISD bands are 5A schools based on the same enrollment structure, and were eligible to advance to the area round.
All eight bands performed beautiful shows in the preliminary competition, representing Frisco ISD with great athleticism and artistry. At the end of the day, Centennial, Wakeland, Liberty, Heritage and Lone Star high schools advanced to the finals, before the two bands, Wakeland and Lone Star, made it into the top four spots, qualifying them to advance to the state round of competition on November 8.
Preston Hazzard, assistant director of Fine Arts and a former band director, described the event as one of the most thrilling and heart-wrenching competitions he had ever attended. “When you are at this level of performance, especially with this new area alignment, the performances are just exceptional. The bands have to execute their programs musically and visually – everything has to be in sync. Hazzard described the finalist bands as performing at near perfection. He said that both Wakeland and Lone Star performances were clean and exciting to watch.
“They represented us really, really well,” he said.
Hazzard also praised the other bands for their encouragement of the finalists – the District bands all rallied around each other.
“We had kids from the other high schools come back to support their friends at Wakeland and Lone Star. It was wonderful to see,” Hazzard said. “The entire season has been about focusing on the foundational culture of collaborative support that makes Frisco ISD special. Watching our collective parents, students and staff encourage each other throughout the day was an unbelievable experience, one that defines what our community is all about.”
Tim Golden, Lone Star band director considered all the bands who came before as part of helping Lone Star make it to this point.
“This is a great culmination of an eight-year journey. We started as a Small 3A school in 2010 with less than 50 people in the entire band program. Now we are taking 241 students to the 5A state championships. We are so excited for and proud of our great students,” he said.
Lone Star’s program is titled “Boundaries” and includes selections from Rachmaninoff: Prelude in C# minor; Bach: Invention No. 4 in D minor; Columbier: “Emmanuel”; and Stravinsky “The Rite of Spring.”
Tanner Smith, band director at Wakeland, admits when the second place winner of Area was announced and his band had not been called, most of the students assumed they had not made it into the finals.
“They thought they were out,” he said, smiling widely as he remembered the moment they learned they were in first place.
The Wakeland program is titled “Old, New, Borrowed and Blue “ The music and the marching coordinate to tell a story of the moments leading up to a bride arriving at the wedding alter – the dress rehearsal, the chaos of being with her bridesmaids and a moment when she is alone - and ends with the bridal processional. The music includes familiar rock music, Gershwin’s” Rhapsody in Blue”, Bach, Rachmaninoff and Wagner, and “tells the story in music,” Smith said. The bride is represented in Wakeland orange with a bouquet of blue flowers. The Gershwin piece is a nod to the band’s history – its first competition program was called “Rhapsody in Blue.”
Smith had the experience of going to state as a competitor when he was a high school band student in Sugarland and again when he was a student teacher. What are his words of wisdom to his marchers?
“As long as you are happy with your performance and that at some point you make someone in the audience smile or cry – that’s all you can ask for.”
Lone Star will compete in the preliminaries at 10:30 a.m. and Wakeland will compete at 1:30 p.m. at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio on November 8. The finalist performances will be in the evening beginning at 7:30 with opening ceremonies. Results will be posted on the UIL website.