The clarinets hold their last note in the Spirit Show, the rifle line catches the last toss, the Nest screams at the top of their lungs while dancing along to the roar of the drumline, and the band and volunteers haul off equipment onto the buses to head home. Cheer and Skydancers have a full competition season ahead, but what happens to the band when ‘Friday Night Lights’ end for the year?
For the Colorguard, the dazzle of the silks spinning through the air doesn’t stop with marching season. Only a week after the final football game, three-day-long auditions are held for the 2020 Winterguard. The guard also had a very successful season last spring when both varsity and junior varsity advanced to finals after preliminaries at the WGI Dallas Regionals Competition. Varsity also received a National A classification.
“We have two separate groups, JV and Varsity, which is two different shows with completely different concepts, different floors, different costumes, different silks,” guard member Chloe Wreyford said.
For the 2020 competition season, the Winterguard will go to Houston, traveling farther than normal for high level contests. This competition is a step up in the WGI sector.
“After Winterguard, [the directors] give us time to start working on our solos and ensembles for UIL,” Wreyford explained. “We choreograph our own, and ensembles choreograph together. That’s also when we are getting ready for spring marching season the next year.”
When marching season ends, Jazz Band is in full swing, and begins learning and practicing all new music. Although they have a class period for the whole year, the group hones in their focus in on jazz when marching season comes to an end. Instruments in this group vary from brass instruments, to the upright bass.
“In a normal class we split up into our instrument groups, like trombones, trumpets, saxophones, and we learn a piece by ourselves and we come back and play it as a group,” trombone player Cade Wells said. “We basically read different music the entire semester and at the end of the year, [and] last year, we went to a contest.”
Another subdivision of the band moving towards new material and performances is the saxophone ensemble, which is mostly saxophone but also includes the pit and other percussion players. The troupe will travel to Chicago this year to perform at the Midwest Sax Clinic.
“We sent a lot of recordings to multiple conventions and Midwest, a very prestigious convention, chose our ensemble to go to this winter,” saxophone player Nicolas Mejia said.
Last year, the trumpet ensemble was run by former assistant band director Hunter Bown, and competed at a contest in Kentucky. This year the troupe is run by Matthew Urbanek, a private lesson teacher.
In the spring, the trumpet ensemble is heading to compete at the National Trumpet Competition (NTC) in Pennsylvania.
“The song we’re playing is called Infinite Ascent, and we are recording for it Dec. 5,” trumpet player Brooklyn Davis said.
When there is no Nest excitedly awaiting their arrival, no halftime to perform at, and no competitions to excel in, the drumline learn and compete with a whole new show for the indoor drumline season.
The 2020 show is entitled ‘Underground’ and is influenced by street artist Banksy and his art in New York, with drum wraps adorned by graffiti-esque rats. The performers will be wearing four different costumes divided up by section, all red and black.
“We are basically going to be street artists in a subway, street performers, actual live street art, even playing on buckets at come point,” band director Chad Mason said.
Last year, the group won first place at WGI Houston and reached the highest score in the country with their show entitled Club Duæl, a jazzy speakeasy oriented show. As a nationally recognized drumline, the new season is full of opportunities to showcase their skills.
“The past two years we’ve won our class in the NTCA, been NTCA champions in open class and now we’re going to world class, which will be a bigger challenge for us,” Mason said. “There aren’t many world groups near us, in fact I think there are only three in the state.”
As a whole, the band switches immediately from marching to sitting for concert band, in which the “band just focuses on creating beautiful music,” clarinet player Bree Cryan said. During their concert season, the band plays in the winter and spring for the public, in addition to competing at UIL competitions.
Though marching season has come to a close, the band is still busy practicing and competing for the rest of the year.