Band Continues to Make History at Bands of America Houston

By Jared Hyman, Photographer/Videographer

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  • Trevor Woods '21 and Alexander Nutticelli '21 play through the show while the woodwinds move behind them. This is part of a unique set where the brass is featured in a double tonguing feature and the woodwinds move towards the end zone. Photo courtesy of FloMarching.

  • Cassidy Lee '21 plays his solo. He has two solos throughout the show including this one where he accompanies a trombone quartet. Photo courtesy of FloMarching.

  • April Gao '20 dances through her sets. She is the feature dancer during Part 3 of the show where she acts as the Sugar Plume Fairy. Photo courtesy of FloMarching.

  • Sophia Castaneda '20 confirms tempo with the other drum majors. As head drum major, it is her job to make sure all tempos are correct and consistent. Photo courtesy of FloMarching.

  • The saxes play through the woodwind feature. While the brass is on the other side of the field doing choreography, the woodwinds play a fast and technical feature. Photo courtesy of FloMarching.

  • The trumpets play through their first feature. It is the first of several parts in the show where the high brass is featured. Photo courtesy of FloMarching.

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On Saturday October 5, the Westwood Warrior Marching Band performed in their second competition of the marching season at the Bands of America (BOA) Houston Regional at Legacy Stadium in Katy. This was the first time the Westwood band competed in a Texas regional event that wasn’t held in Austin.

“I loved going to Houston for a competition,” Gavin Bono ‘22 said. “Even though it was a different atmosphere and obviously a completely different stadium, it honestly felt like we were at home; the parent support was overwhelming.”

Due to their 3:00 p.m. prelims performance and long bus ride to Katy, the band had an early call time of 6:30 a.m. before a 7:00 a.m. rehearsal. This came directly after a football game night, so the band didn’t have long to rest before hitting the ground running again.

“At first, I was thinking ‘Why do I have to wake up so early and have a rehearsal after a football game’’” Hart Black ‘21 said. “But I realized this is what it takes to be great, so I’m all in and gotta drink some coffee to wake myself up.”

The band had a productive rehearsal, as they cleaned newly added chunks of the ballad and ran through choreography throughout the show. The full run set the tone for what would come later in Houston.

“The morning rehearsal was a great refresher for the changes we made and it helped make everyone more confident about the performance,” Meryl Jiang ‘20 said. “I had a really good rehearsal personally and it was really beneficial for me.”

After loading the trucks, the band was ready to get on buses and head to Houston. Parents surrounded the buses with good luck signs and goody bags with snacks for the bus ride.The band had the privilege of riding charter buses to make the long drive a little more spacious and enjoyable.

“Even though the drive there was long, I still enjoyed it,” Jackie Sharp ‘23 said. “I played Psych with my section and listened to music most of the ride, but I love charter buses and being in them made it even more fun.”

The band finally arrived at Legacy Stadium. They began to unload and focus for their prelims performance. After another hour, they headed to warm up. The weather was unusual for an October afternoon as it was 95 degrees during their performance time but the band had to push through to have a good mindset before their run.

“We had a really focused warm-up despite the weather,” drum major Will Sedberry ‘20 said. “Everyone did their best to push past the heat, which allowed us to focus on getting ready for the show and set us up for a great performance.

The time hit 3:00 p.m. and the Westwood band performed their show Believe.  It was good enough to earn them a finals spot for the second straight competition. But something nobody expected; the band received second place in their class (AAAA) by beating out multiple elite finalist bands such as The Woodlands and Westlake.

“I honestly couldn’t believe it,” Jason Sato ‘21 said. “I didn’t even think we had our best run during prelims. I thought they said Westwood on accident and they meant Westlake. I just went absolutely crazy.The fact that we beat The Woodlands and Westlake is still surreal.”

Westwood performed second to last in finals at 10:00 p.m. with the goal of defending their position, 16 hours after they first reported to rehearsal. They got a huge ovation from a big crowd and walked off the field feeling confident about their placement.

“My finals run was one of the best runs of the show I’ve ever done,” Sammy Siegel ‘21 said. “We greatly improved from our prelims run because we were way more focused, cared more about the outcome and we were more comfortable under the lights, myself included.”

The Westwood Warrior band continued their history making competition season by placing third in the finals, the highest they’ve ever placed at a BOA competition in their history with a score of 85.025. This was also the first time they medaled at any competition since 2017. They made a statement to the media as they weren’t even predicted to place in the top five.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the kids and the work ethic that they put in,” Head Band Director Thomas Turpin said. “I think it was a very validating day for our program and I think there are several people around the state who are very curious to see what the Westwood band will accomplish come November.”