Pictured: The Alice High School Marching Band will compete at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the Alamodome in San Antonio. Photo by PETE GARCIA

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

For many Alice High School band students, Tuesday's state marching band competition at the Alamodome is the culmination of four years of hard work and sweat.

For senior Matthew Zamora, this chance has been a long time coming.

"We've heard all about the All State Marching contest since our freshman year. It's been in our heads ever since," Zamora said. "It's a really good feeling, finally making it to contest; it's the best feeling in the world."

The AHS Marching Band will be honored with a proclamation tonight starting at 6 p.m. at the AHS Marching pad. The band will practice afterward in preparation for the state contest. The band will leave the high school at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday and perform in San Antonio at 3 p.m.

The band placed fourth at the UIL Area Marching Band competition Oct. 27 in Calallen, and earned a spot in the state contest.

AHS will face off against more than 20 bands from across the state of Texas. This is the third time the marching band has advanced to state in the last 10 years, and the first time under the direction of Band Director Brian Herring.

Zamora said the goal is to stay focused while performing in the Alamodome, and not to get distracted by the crowd or the location.

"If everyone stays focused out there, we have a good shot of making it to the finals," Zamora said.

Junior Sarah Rosas is just excited to be able to perform at state.

"I didn't think we'd make it this far," Rosas said. "I'm just nervous and tired at this point. I hope we do well. I think that goes for everybody. We're just concentrating on what we have to do."

Rosas said her favorite part about marching in the band is the people she works with every day.

"The marching band, it's like a family. I think we're going to do very well," Rosas said.