Band Competes in UIL Area D Marching Contest


Photo courtesy of the Westwood Warrior Marching Band.

The drumline performs in front of the prop.

Sloka Chandrasekaran, Social Media Coordinator

The Westwood Warrior Marching Band participated in the UIL Area D Marching Contest on Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Heroes Stadium in San Antonio. After having drawn one of the earliest performance times, the band arrived at school at 6 a.m. so they could depart soon enough to warm up and mentally prepare themselves.

“This competition is one of the most important ones of the year,“ Ani Sreeram ‘19 said. “We only get to do this once every two years, so for our juniors and seniors, it’s our last chance to make it to the state level.”

The UIL Marching Contest consists of five rounds. In the first round, the region contest, which was held prior to this competition, bands must receive a Division 1 rating from judges to advance to the area contest. The second round is the area preliminary performance, which consists of a panel of judges, each carefully selected to judge categories such “music effect” and “individual technique”. 10 bands are selected from this round to move on to the third round, the final round of the area contest. Bands perform for judges once again, but only the top six move on to the state level. The final two rounds, the state preliminary contest and the state final contest, was the band‘s ultimate goal. The band previously made state four years ago with their 2014 show entitled “Fore”.

“I was super excited to perform at my first area competition,” Alice Gaede ‘22 said. “I really hoped our hard work paid off, especially because I want the juniors and seniors to have a chance to make it [to the state level].”

The band performed in the preliminary round at 10:45 a.m. Students played their instruments passionately, performed their choreography, and ended the show with their much-anticipated black hole prop.

“Although this competition only focuses on marching and music but not so much on general effect, it was still so cool to finally use our prop,” Connie Huang ‘21 said. “It’s basically a giant black fabric that covers the entire band at the end of the show.”

Following their preliminary performance, students and directors rehearsed for finals, confident they would be in the top ten from preliminaries. They rehearsed for almost two hours before heading back to Heroes Stadium for the finals announcement.

“I was super excited for the announcements because this season has been especially hard with the weather,” Maddie Medina ‘20 said. “Not having lots of time to practice really took a toll on the band, but this is going to be our comeback.”

Students crowded around fences and leaned in close to hear announcements. The band cheered when Westwood was called, securing their finals spot. Their finals performance time would be 10 p.m., the last performance of the night.

“It was super awesome hearing we had the last spot of the night,” Sreeram said. “That means the judges will have a better memory of us so I really hope they like us.”

Photo courtesy of the Westwood Warrior Marching Band.
The band prepares to perform for their UIL competition.

After a long dinner, the students got back into their “finalist mentality” and warmed up with the focus they would have during their performance. At 10 p.m., the band performed its show once again, applying everything they worked on during their rehearsal earlier that day.

“That performance was by far the cleanest the show has ever been,” Tom Klink ‘19 said. “The amount of smiles I saw coming off the field was so cool and it made me feel really good.”

After the performance, the band waited in the bleachers for results to be announced, jittering with excitement. Juniors and seniors were especially nervous because they wanted to know what it felt like to make state before they left.

“I was really nervous after our performance,” Isabel Grudowski ‘19 said. “I had a really good run of the show and I think everyone else did too, but you never know with the judges and it’s also my last chance.”

Students prepared themselves as bands were announced. Names continued to be called, but none of them were Westwood High School. Unfortunately, the band fell short and would not advance to finals, leaving the upperclassmen heartbroken.

“I’m honestly in shock that we didn’t advance to state,” Head Band Director Thomas Turpin said. “I know the juniors and seniors are hurting right now, but it’s important that they realize they were a huge part of why we were great tonight. That was the best Westwood Band I have ever seen, and I can’t wait to keep pushing through this last week and finishing this marching season strong.”