SSHS band tuning up for Tuesday's UIL contest

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

Oct. 15, 2008 - The Sulphur Springs High School Marching Band earned high marks at the Northeast Texas Marching Fest in Mount Pleasant, coming home Saturday with a third-place ranking following two rounds of competition.

Overall, the band earned all first division ratings in every category with their "Beatles" halftime show at the Mount Pleasant contest, in which they'd never before competed. That means the marching band, color guard, percussion squad and drum major all earned top marks.

In fact, SSHS drum major Coby Steele's performance wowed the judge, earning Steele the "Outstanding Drum Major" title for the contest.

First the students competed against the other 24 bands present during the preliminary competition. They were among the top seven bands to advance to the finals. At the end of the contest, SSHS Marching Band was ranked third overall.

"We are very, very happy with the results Saturday. I feel like the students had a real good day. They improved a lot from the preliminaries and finals. I think that shows a lot of character, to push to overcome adversity and make changes. They really stepped it up. There was a mix-up of some stuff, but they came together and did an even better job in the face of that adversity," said SSHS Fine Arts and Director of Bands Charles McCauley. "It was a real good experience for everybody."

McCauley said that over the last five to six years the SSHS band has competed in Dallas contests during the opening weekend of contest season. This year, SSHS will make an effort to support more contests hosted within the region, including the Northeast Texas Marching Fest in Mount Pleasant, by participating in them.

Not only did the Marching Fest give the band an opportunity to compete against other schools in the region, it also gave them an opportunity to do so on the field, where Tuesday they will be competing in the UIL contest, according to McCauley.

In fact, last Saturday's contest was one of only three the band will compete in over an 11-day period. This Saturday, Oct. 18, the band will compete in the Parkway Marching Contest in Louisiana, then Tuesday will head back to Mount Pleasant. The band is slated to take the field at Parkway at 2:45 p.m. Saturday, and in Mount Pleasant at 3:45 p.m. Tuesday.

McCauley said the support of loyal SSHS band fans was, as always, appreciated and helpful.

"We're very popular," McCauley noted. "I'd say we outnumber the other schools three to one. I think we have the best band parents. They follow us all over and are out there every time."

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