After a long season of after-school rehearsals, choreography training and music practice, two LISD marching bands made state history placing in the the top 10 at the UIL Class 5A Marching Band Contest at the Alamodome, Nov. 8.
The Cedar Park High School band won its fourth and second consecutive championship, while the Rouse High School band made school history for its first-ever contest appearance and placing ninth.
With the two schools’ wins this year, LISD is the first school district in Texas with five high school bands that have earned a spot in a UIL Marching Band Finals Competition.
The CPHS band performed their version of "The Steadfast Tin Soldier" — which featured student dancers playing various toy roles — with selections from composers such as Pytor Tchaikovsky, Giacomo Puccini and Dmitri Shostakovich.
Steve Wessels, CPHS director of bands, said he thinks the best quality about his championship band is the trust the students demonstrated.
“When we ask them to work on certain sections and ask them to do things over and over again they trust what we’re asking them is what it takes,” he said.
The marching band’s performance at the state championship was the best Wessels had ever seen them, he said.
“You always want the best possible one, and that was going through our heads during it, 'that was it',” he said. “It was a real cool moment.”
The CPHS band consists of 225 students, and Rouse — where half of its population moved to Glenn HS — had 160.
As for the Rouse HS marching band, Director Jason Robb said the theme of the year was figuring out the identity and culture of the marching band program, which had an all-new staff. The element lent itself to their competition show, which was called "Lotus."
“We wanted to rebrand what our style was,” Robb said. “We were blooming into what we were, and what we were comfortable with.”
The RHS show included several neoclassical pieces and arrangements of electronic music from modern composers such as Max Richter.
Placing ninth in the competition exceeded the band’s “wildest dreams” for the year’s expectations, Robb said.
“We were the smallest group there,” he said. “It was our goal to just qualify for the state championship. We weren’t expecting to do as well as we did.
“I couldn’t ask for more, they brought it and it was remarkable.”