Lubbock HS band is first from the LISD to compete in state marching championship in 30+ years

Lubbock High School’s band will be the first from the Lubbock Independent School District to attend the Texas state marching band championship in more than 30 years.

 

Christopher Anderson, executive director of fine arts for Lubbock ISD, said no Lubbock band has reached state under the current system through which bands qualify for the state competition, and that system started in the 1980s.

“1982 is the last band that we knew of that went to state, and that was in the old system,” Anderson said. That last band was Monterey High School.

Last weekend, Lubbock High began what it hopes is a new tradition. The band will perform in the state championship, and band director James Snider said it could continue to happen in the future if the band members continue to display a strong work ethic.

“The work ethic was much better this year. It’s just all about working and practicing. The work ethic was just great,” Snider said of his 208 band members at Lubbock High.

Rafael de Farias, a freshman trumpet player, agreed, saying, “It’s amazing how much work we’ve put in. Four hundred hours of hard work put into this band paid off to make it to state.”

Rafael said the transition between middle school band and high school band has been difficult for him.

“Marching is difficult, but it’s worth it,” he said. “It’s harder than middle school, but I love it.”

Joshua Crawford, a senior and drum major of the LHS band, said he remembers those days of being a freshman in the band. Back then, he said, the transition was difficult but fun, yet the music was not nearly as challenging as the music Lubbock High is playing this year.

“Now, we’re in the big leagues. We’re playing some really difficult and rigorous music. And, just, it’s a more mature band. It’s a great thing to be a leader with this band,” Joshua said.

The band’s show is called “Beyond the Iron Gates,” and it opens with Hector Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique.” Although the story of the show is “basically a love story,” Joshua said, the entire show has a very dark tone. The students also play parts of Samuel Barber’s “Medea’s Dance of Vengeance” and Modest Musorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition: Gates of Kiev.”

Joshua described the band’s evolution between his freshman and senior years as a long ride. He didn’t anticipate the band’s growth.

“It’s really amazing to see how far we’ve come,” he said.

Before the band’s performance in the preliminary rounds at the area contest last weekend, he said he told the band members he wanted them to have the best performance they could have, because it would feel good for all of them even if they didn’t make finals.

And then they did.

Snider said he was shocked when he went to the press box during a break between the preliminary and final competitions at area competition. The band was in sixth place out of 10 finalists, but only the top five bands would go on to the state competition after finals. The band had not only made finals, but was close to possibly going to state, he said.

“The motivation was right there in itself: We were one away,” Snider said.

“We were all just running on anxiety after we finished the prelims. But they really ramped up the energy and they did what we needed them to do to make it to state, obviously. So it was awesome. A lot of us were shocked. It was really just a great experience,” Joshua said.

Anderson said these successes are for the band students.

“All of the goals are about the kids having these amazing experiences. When you get down there, you get to see what all of the other bands are doing,” Anderson said. “Once you get your foot in the door, you want to go back.”

Raymond Lusk, executive secretary of Region 15 UIL Music, said Lubbock High is the only band from this region to go on to the state competition in Class 5A. The other four bands to advance from the area competition — Bel Air, Hanks, Del Valle and Horizon high schools — are all from El Paso.

“It’s a big honor just to make finals,” Lusk said, noting that Coronado High School also made finals.

He said bands in Lubbock ISD have been improving. “Actually, to get into the finals, that’s a big improvement,” Lusk said. “They are making strides.”

Bands from 1A, 2A, 3A and 5A schools will compete at the state competition this year, while bands from 4A and 6A will compete next year.

Marching on

Other bands from the UIL Region 16 will also perform at the state marching contest:

n In 1A, Ropes, Rotan, Whitedeer, Booker, Whiteface and Springlake-Earth will all compete at state.

n In 2A, Sundown, Panhandle, New Deal, Forsan and Irion will compete at state.

n In 3A, Crane, Canadian and Clyde will compete at state.

 

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