35 get district band honors

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

Alice High School band students held their UIL District tryouts last Saturday morning at AHS.

Of the nearly 40 students who participated, 35 made the district band, and 28 excelled enough to go on to Region tryouts at AHS on Dec.1.

The competition involves individual performances of three prepared pieces.

Students have been working on these selections since the beginning of the semester, both at home, after school and during their technique time.

Unlike some bands in the area, Band Director Brian Herring said the students have received a lot of attention from their instructors, both during class and in their technique lessons, which gave them somewhat of an advantage over other band programs that do not provide that kind of access to instruction.

Of the five school represented, Alice, Gregory-Portland, Calallen, Richard King and Miller, Alice had the most number of students advance to the Region tryouts, Herring said.

Of the 15 instrument sections represented in the competition, AHS students won first chair in nine of them.

Herring said the numbers he's seeing this year have exceeded the numbers of the last three years he's been involved in the program.

"Our kids did very well in this contest. It takes a lot of work and preparation on the part of the staff to make an event like this come off," Herring said. "I'm real proud of our students. We had some young kids do really well, beat some of the older kids."

Although there is no official district band, the students who made District Band do receive a patch in recognition of their efforts.

Those who qualified for Region will compete on Dec. 1 for a spot not only on the Region Band, but also a place to go on in the area contest.

As the contest continues, the pool of talent involved in the contest increases, and it becomes much more difficult.

All judging is conducted by band directors, five to a room, and all performances are done behind a partition with the judges back turned away from the performer, that way the judges can make impartial decisions based on musical ability, Herring explained.