Wakeland Band Wins Prestigious International Award

Feb 07, 2022

2021 Sudler Shield Recipient Wakeland High School Marching BandThe Wakeland High School band is a 2021 recipient of the prestigious John Philip Sousa Foundation Sudler Shield Award. The Sudler Shield Award identifies, recognizes and honors outstanding international marching bands who are at a world-class level of excellence. 

The Wakeland band was selected based on international standards of excellence in musical performance, marching execution, choreography and show design. 

The band, which includes more than 225 student musicians, is under the direction of Tanner Smith, Daniel Berard, Lizzie Rivera, Brian Teed, Jeff Carmona and Kylee Hubbard. 

“This award recognizes the hard work of our current students, but is also a testament to the alumni and former directors who set a standard for excellence that each new generation of Wolverines strives for,” Smith said. “I’m incredibly proud of the band and my colleagues who are committed to excellence both in and out of the band hall, while staying humble and focused on the success of the program.” 

The John Philip Sousa Foundation is a non-profit foundation dedicated to the promotion of band music internationally. The foundation administers awards supporting high-quality band performance, conducting and composition. 

After being nominated anonymously for the award, Smith submitted an official application along with a video from the 2021 competitive marching season. The application was reviewed by more than two dozen collegiate and high school band directors, retired band directors and fine arts directors from around the world.

The 2021 marching season was incredibly memorable, especially following a canceled competitive marching season in 2020 due to the pandemic. 

This season, the band placed 2nd overall at the HEB Marching Contest where they were also awarded Class 5A Champion, Outstanding Music Performance, Outstanding Visual Performance and Outstanding General Effect. At the Bands of America Contest: DFW Regional, the band placed 7th and was recognized with Class AAA Champion and Outstanding Music awards. In addition, the band received a First Division rating at the Region UIL Marching Contest before advancing to Area where they were named Area B Champion and eventually to the Texas State Championship where they were named 4th Place Overall. 

“These student musicians are bettering themselves through every aspect of their music education in marching and concert band throughout the school year,” Smith said. “They are grasping at every leadership opportunity and gaining skill sets that they will carry on through college and adulthood. 

“The hard work, dedication, grit and perseverance they gain through music education will carry them far.”

Since opening 15 years ago, thousands of musicians have played with the Wakeland High School band, which has long been renowned for its passionate educators and student musicians. This award recognizes not only the current marching band on an international stage but also the legacy of its alumni. 

“Being in band in Frisco ISD is more than just the fall marching season,” Smith said. “These student musicians participate in concert band each spring, practice in the evenings and over each break, including summers. 

“Their commitment and dedication to the craft is admirable and I am proud to be part of that journey.”

Community Invited to Award Ceremony

The Frisco ISD community is invited to Wakeland’s Annual Spring Concert, where the Wakeland Band will receive the prestigious Sudler Shield Award from former Western Carolina University Director of Bands David Starnes, a Sudler Award panelist. 

The free concert and presentation will begin at 7 p.m. in the Wakeland auditorium on Friday, May 13, 2022.

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