Sulphur Springs High School Wildcat Marching Band stepped up their performance again last week, advancing to the UIL Area Contest at Mesquite Memorial Stadium this Saturday.
“The kids did good. The band received a first division from every judge at region Thursday and are advancing to area. It was a good day, a good performance. I’m proud of the kids,” said SSISD Director of Bands Charles McCauley.
McCauley said the band may be composed predominantly of young members, with about 48 freshmen and only nine senior members — which band directors refer to as the “mighty” nine. However, the group has been working hard daily to improve both individually and as a group.
“We had a great rehearsal yesterday. We were here until 6 last night. It was a long three hours, but they were better yesterday than on Saturday. That’s what we want, to get better every day,” McCauley said.
He compared the students’ daily efforts to a ladder climb. Each day they strive to be a little better, trying to reach that next level, reach that next rung on the ladder, pushing to be the very best they can be.
“We are very pleased and happy, really proud of the kids,” McCauley said. “We want them to reach their potential as individuals and as a team — when they do, they are successful. Placing all ones at UIL Region 4 was second to them doing their best each time.
“All the judges mentioned the band’s good musical fundamentality, marching fundamentality — that’s what it’s about — fundamentals in every area,” the band director said. “We’re going to keep on improving. Doing that and staying focused on reaching potential as individuals and as a team.”
The students will continue working hard this week in preparation for Saturday’s UIL Area contest. The students will perform at 11:30 a.m. at Mesquite Memorial Stadium where they will be ranked among 25 bands at the event, all hoping to advance to the state contest.
Ordinarily, the area contest features about 20 bands from four regions. However, this year, area includes the top marching bands for five regions — 4, 3, 21, 20 and 25. That will mean about 25 4-A bands from all across Northeast Texas including Sherman, McKinney, Waxahachie, Forney, Whitehouse, Ennis, Jacksonville, Lindale and Texas High.
“Area will include bands from the entire northeast section of the state. That’s a huge area. In almost any other state — Oklahoma, Arkansas and other smaller states — that big an area would be about the whole state. That’s how big Texas is. Class 4A goes up to 2,000 students. Some are 2,000, like Highland Park,” said McCauley.
Despite the large groups and number of entries, McCauley said the band and directors are looking forward to the contest.
“Lets see how good we can get this week, see how good we do. If we continue to improve and do our best, when no matter what we make, we will leave the field Saturday with no regrets. We are excited about going over there and seeing how we stack up,” McCauley said.
The Area contest, unlike the District 4 contest where each band receives ratings up to 1 which is a superior rating, are ranked. The UIL area marching contest will feature five judges — three that evaluate the band strictly on musicality and two that judge marching only. All of the bands will be ranked first through 25th.
“We’ll see where we stack up, We’ll go see where we are. I think the kids will do OK. They are ready. The’ve been working hard and strive to improve more each time they play,” McCauley said.
Those unable to make the trek to Mesquite Memorial Stadium Saturday can show their support of the Wildcats — and get a sneak peak at the upcoming performance — during Friday night’s halftime show.
“We’re excited about showing the home crowd our show,” said McCauley.
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