Friday, April 10, 2020
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20191108 SISDBandsMonths of hard work for both of Sharyland ISD’s marching bands ended Monday after competing at the UIL 5A State Marching Band Contest at the San Antonio Alamodome.

During the preliminary round of the competition held Monday, the marching bands for Sharyland High School and Sharyland Pioneer High School both ranked in the top 25 out of the 34 bands competing. Only the top 12 bands advanced to finals the following day.

Sharyland ranked 19th while Pioneer ranked 22nd, according to Ruben Adame, UIL Region 15 executive secretary, as well as the head fine arts administrator for La Joya ISD.

Other 5A schools from the area who participated at the state competition included Brownsville’s Lopez Early College High School, Brownsville Pace Early College High School and Rio Grande City High School.

None of the schools advanced to the finals portion of the competition.

“Because this is the only championship offered to a marching band through UIL, it’s become very important for all high schools in the state,” Adame explained. “UIL has put a huge importance on creating this type of opportunity for band programs across the state to compete for a championship much like athletics. Athletics is always having a championship in several sports but in music, the only division with the championship is marching band. That’s it. There’s no champion in choir or orchestra, just marching band.”

Lyford High School, located near Raymondville, was the only south Texas 3A school who competed in the 3A portion of the competition on Wednesday.

For the Sharyland school district, this is the third consecutive time both schools have participated at the state championship during a qualifying year.

Due to class sizes, different schools qualify for the state championship every other year, meaning that both Sharyland schools won’t compete at the state championship again until 2021.

“I’m really proud of my kids, this is the strongest group we’ve had,” Sharyland High School Band Director Marc Perea said. “This group is very self-motivated and they all pushed each other to be their very best, I’m happy with the work they’ve done.”

Sharyland High, which was performing a jazz-themed show titled “On Pins and Needles,” previously advanced to the state finals in 2004.

“I am extremely proud of our Mighty Rattler Band, they gave us all a stellar performance at the State UIL Championship that gave people chills and will be remembered for a long time for many,” Sharyland High School Principal Lori Ann Garza said. “Although our marching season ended this weekend, we ended our marching season as the Top 5A band from the RGV and ranked 19th in State.”

Sharyland Pioneer High School performed a show titled “Spellbound” which included classical music and Chris Issac’s “Wicked Game.”

“They did the best they could do and that’s all I ask for, that they give it their all in every performance and they knocked it out of the ballpark,” Sharyland Pioneer Band Director Arnold Salinas said. “I’m extremely proud of our students and the Sharyland community who followed us to San Antonio to support them.”

Sharyland Pioneer Principal James Heath echoed Salinas’ comments.

“I have been so thrilled to watch the band this year as they prepared to compete for the opportunity to earn their way to state for the third consecutive time in three tries,” Heath said. “These directors, students, and their parents have worked extremely hard to achieve this honor. Although they didn’t make the final cut, they gave everything they had and gave probably their (best) performance of the year. The entire Pioneer Community couldn’t be prouder of what they accomplished this year.”

Marching bands from the school districts of Roma, Port Isabel, Rio Hondo and La Grulla have also competed in the finals in the past, with Hidalgo Early College High School winning the state championship before, Adame said.

“We’re still trying to figure out how to break that barrier to be able to crack into the finals list continuously, but I can see that happening sometime in the near future,” Adame said. “It’s a difficult process to get there and we have some very good bands out here. The support these five bands had from parents and administration, to see them going to San Antonio and support them made me really proud.”

Though qualifying state years for schools alternate, Adame added that the UIL board is considering making it a state year for all schools every year. The state board of education will discuss it next spring, he said.

“I think it’s a strong possibility it might happen,” Adame said. “If you crown an area champion every year, it becomes a good way to end a marching band season.”