Making its presence known at the UIL Class 5A State Marching Band Contest has become a bit of a tradition for Frisco ISD in recent years.
Only this year, a relatively new program joined the familiar faces.
Three of FISD’s bands placed in the top 12 at the contest, which took place Monday and Tuesday at The Alamodome in San Antonio.
Wakeland High School placed third with 14 points. Cedar Park won the competition with seven points, followed by Highland Park with 14 points.
Lebanon Trail High School, in its first state appearance, placed eighth with 39 points. Lone Star High School placed 12th (48 points).
Wakeland’s performance was titled “11” based on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
Tanner Smith, director of bands for Wakeland, said the show was the story of the mission seen through the perspective of a child. The child falls asleep after hearing JFK announce that the country is going to the moon. Soon after, the child falls into her dream and becomes the astronaut, boards the ship and launches to the moon and back.
“Our students are incredibly hard working and they have trust in the processes that we guide them through,” Smith said. “They are all focused on performance goals and as long as you leave the school day being a little better than you were the day before, that momentum and progress will carry through from year to year. Our students grow immensely through the year and are consistent with their approach to rehearsal and performance. I think the consistency is what has guided us to the state finals six times.”
Lebanon Trail’s performance was called “Rain.” It illustrated rain in all of its various forms – gentle rain, thunderstorms, wind and lightning, ending with the clouds parting and a rainbow signifying hope at the end of the storm, said Kelly Wykoff, director of bands.
This is Lebanon Trail’s fourth year as a program, but because of class size and UIL classification, this is the first year the school has been able to qualify for state.
“What began with a small group of determined students and staff has finally culminated in a tremendous accomplishment,” Wykoff said. “We are so proud of these students and the four-year journey they took to get here.”
Wykoff said the students began to build a positive culture around leadership, teamwork and the value of working hard to achieve their goals.
“They've continued this tradition for four years and are now determined to leave behind a legacy of excellence, passion and dedication for future generations of the Lebanon Trail band,” Wykoff said.
Lone Star’s theme was “The Heist.” It featured performances of “City Life” by Steve Reich, “Symphony No. 10” by Dmitri Shostakovich, “Hunting Wabbits” by Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, “Tess’ Theme” by Danny Elfman, “Smooth Criminal” by Michael Jackson and “A-Ha!” by Imogen Heap.
“I’m very proud of how well the students performed in both prelims and finals,” said Mark Poole, director of bands at Lone Star. “I told them after they performed the last time that no matter the placement, you peaked at the right time and had your very best performance.”
In Monday’s preliminary round Wakeland, Lone Star and Lebanon Trail placed third, sixth and 10th, respectively. Thirty-four bands competed in the preliminaries.
The three schools qualified for state by taking the top three places at the UIL Area B Marching Contest, which took place Oct. 28.
State success is nothing new to Wakeland and Lone Star. Wakeland placed fourth in the contest in 2017, and Lone Star placed 12th in the preliminary round.