The echo of music still hovers in the air as Frisco ISD enjoys bragging rights for sending not one – but two bands – to the State Marching Band Competition this year.
Wakeland High School returned to San Antonio and Lone Star High School enjoyed its first trip to the Alamodome.
The story of this year’s trip to state goes beyond the talent to the remarkable supportive reactions of students and parents from the two schools, as well as band fans across the District.
Though both schools went to state with a very competitive spirit, they maintained a sense of family. They were both there to represent Frisco ISD at its best.
Wakeland’s program theme was based on a bride preparing for her wedding and was designed around the old saying “Something Old, New, Borrowed and Blue.” The band paid homage to past band programs by intentionally using the school colors and pieces of music from past programs – bringing the old and the new together. The combination clearly paid off.
“This is the fifth time the Wakeland Band has made it to state marching contest. They have historically done well and this is third time in school history to place 4th at the contest,” noted Director Tanner Smith. “We are extremely excited for the success of the students this year. The students have been dedicated since we began camp on July 24. The amount of improvement the students made from week to week was outstanding and is what made the state marching experience so special. I think the key to our success this year was the student buy- in to the show and wanting something special to come out of it.”
Smith said that the band staff and students knew early on that it was going to be a special year. He watched them improve each week and their hard work resulted in the experience being fun and rewarding for everyone.
Lone Star’s program was named “Boundaries” and closed with the “Rite of Spring,” a piece of music that once caused rioting in the streets of Paris because it was so different. The Lone Star program celebrated breaking boundaries in both society and in music. Their inclusive theme showed in their attitude towards their Wakeland peers. Once the Rangers Marching Band members had completed their competition and knew they weren’t moving forward, they stayed to cheer Wakeland on in the final competition.
Kathy Leonzi, mother of Lone Star Drum Major Lexi Leonzi, served as chaperone for the trip to state.
“We were all so proud to be representing our District. Each band cheered the other one. We would see each other and shout “Go Wakeland!” or “Go Lone Star!” to cheer each other on. It was really a time of a hometown feel,” she said.
Mary Jane Gunter, a Wakeland band parent, shared her thoughts about band families and how they should all support each other.
“All our kids are working so hard, working so many hours, and we are all going through the same thing. We should all be supportive of each other,” she said. “I saw a video of our kids cheering on the Lone Star kids when their name got called for going to state. We didn’t know we were going yet, but our kids were cheering for them. It warmed my heart.”
When rivals Wakeland and Frisco High School met at The Star a few nights after the band competition, the FHS Band held up a banner congratulating the Wakeland Band on their trip to state. It was not a night for rivalry or grudges, but for celebrating a sister school’s success.
Tim Golden, Lone Star band director, is a teacher and a band parent. He could not be more proud of his students who worked long hours doing the same thing over and over again until they got it right. The hard work and positive attitude taught in the band hall will serve his students well in the future – whether as musicians or whatever path they choose to follow in life, he said.
Golden said he felt chills as his band walked into the Alamodome, because of the enormity of the site and the importance of the event. The point when each marcher unfurls a neon sash from their uniform one sash at a time is his favorite part of the show and it went off perfectly at the competition.
“It is an emotional moment,” he said.
At the end of the day on November 8, Wakeland Band earned the fourth spot at the finals. Lone Star earned a very respectable 12th place in the preliminary judging. Both were proud to represent Frisco ISD.
Congratulations to all on a great marching season.