Alice High School band had not been there for 15 years

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

After a more than 15 year absence, the Alice High School Honors Band is once again headed to state Honor Band competition on July 20.

Sponsored by the Texas Music Educators Association, the Honor Band competition judges bands based on three to five of their best musical selections culled from their performances throughout a concert season. A sound recording is made from those best selections and sent to TMEA for judging. AHS this week hosted the Area G Honor Band competition, which had five entries. The final rankings placed Roma first and Alice second, although based on their performances, AHS Honors Band Director Brian Herring said the competition for first was very close.

"The area contest this week was very close, which says a lot for our kids when you consider that Roma has 25 all state band members, and we have two," Herring said. The top two bands from each area proceed to the state contest in San Antonio.

During his long tenure with the AHS Honors Band, Bryce Taylor was able to make the top five in State Honor Band competition 15 times. This is Herring's second year with the AHS Honors Band.

"Mr. Taylor was excited, I'm excited. This is really important for the community, the kids and their parents. For the morale of our organization, I think it's a big deal. It recognizes some really good things in Alice, some really great kids. They really worked hard. The students didn't get to this point with smoke and mirrors," Herring said.

He said he didn't come in this year expecting this to happen. This was a young band, with only 15 seniors. "I thought, well, let's see if we can play some music. And they consistently got better. They did most of it on their own. They paid a lot of attention and did really well, and I'm very proud of them," Herring said.

"For the kids to be recognized as the one of the top bands in the state is a big thing for them. The Honors band, in a contest such as this, it is very much an intellectual endeavor. These are really smart kids, and I'm fortunate to have such really great kids in the group."