The high school marching bands that bused to Wylie's Bulldog Stadium on Monday could be thankful of two things at least.
Megan Colwell of the Wylie High flag corps balances her flag on her chest during the band's Region VI marching band performances Monday night at Bulldog Stadium. Wylie earned a "1" rating to advance to the regional competition.' Oct 21 2019
It wasn't too hot, like Sunday's 94-degree reading, and it was dry.
For some bands, the thankfulness extended to receiving "1" rating at the University Interscholastic League Region East Zone contest.
Eleven bands received superior ratings, including Wylie and Abilene high schools. Cooper received a 2 but advances because at least two bands must represent the region.
For Wylie and Cooper, that means advancing to the area round of competition this weekend in Odessa. From there, it's off to San Antonio for bands judged the best. Class 5A, 3A and 1A bands are eligible this year.
Horn player Aaron Halliburton and the other 24 members of the Baird High School marching band earned a superior rating Monday at Wylie ISD's Bulldog Stadium, qualifying for the Class 1A state contest in San Antonio next month.
Baird, the first band to play Monday, was hoping for a ticket straight to the November competition. The only Class 1A school on the program, the band would not have to compete at an area-level round.
After scoring a superior rating here last year, Baird matched that and earned its first trip to the state contest in who knows when.
"A long time," horn player Aaron Halliburton said.
Senior Kydie Edwards twirls during Albany High School's UIL marching band competition at Wylie ISD's Bulldog Stadium. Albany was judged with a "3" raring.
Did fourth-year director Gary Sherman hear a "1" performance?
"Uhhhhh, it was close," said Sherman, who shares directing duties with his wife, Annette. He teaches brass and percussion; she handles woodwinds.
"They are pumped," Gary Sherman said of his band members, who were texting the good news after it was announced.
Six Class 3A bands were vying for advancements — Ballinger, Clyde, Colorado, Jim Ned, Merkel and Sonora. Scoring "1" ratings were Clyde, Colorado, Jim Ned and Sonora.
Baird High School band director Gary Sherman stands with his student musicians before they entered Bulldog Stadium on Monday to compete at the UIL regional contest. Baird earned a "1" rating to advance to the state contest for the first time in years.
Among 4A bands, Big Spring, Andrews and Fort Stockton scored 1s.
Sonora's middle school band also got "1."
Extras Monday included Jim Ned's yellow brick road and cornfield, Merkel's soldier charge during its show, "The Civil War," and Albany High's twirler, Kydie Edwards.
Competing during the evening were Abilene's three high school bands, with Wylie hoping to advance as a Class 5A competitor for the first time.
The Pure Gold Band had a non-competition year as a 4A school in 2017, then another in 2018, its first in 5A.
The Pure Gold scored a "1," Michelle Lessing's first as a director.
"It feels good," she said after the rating was announced. "The kids are super, super excited."
She watched from the Wylie track.
"The show from the field is a different listening experience that being in the stands," she said. "You can feel the energy. They really got that going."
She said what was evident Monday night was the work put in to unify as musicians.
"That concept is what makes a haka," she said of her band's warrior-like theme. "That is what we focused on last week and these few days, trying to find unity in sound and spirit."
The lights of Wyiie ISD's Bulldog Stadium shine off the Cooper marching band tubas as the band gets into position to open its show Monday night at the Region VI marching band competition. Oct 21 2019
First-year Cooper director Matthew Raines said he heard "some good things" but even without the judges' comments he knew where his band needed "some improvement."
"We'll take the comments of the judges and adjust what we can," he said, noting the band has 4.5 hours of rehearsal time before competing again.
"I'm optimistic," he said.
Nathaniel Hernandez of Abilene High School prepares for Monday evening's UIL contest at Bulldog Stadium on the Wylie High School campus. Oct 21 2019
By Greg Jaklewicz
Copyright © 2019, Abilene Reporter News. All Rights Reserved