Months of preparation, even years for the upperclassmen, have paid off for the Alice High School marching band.

The band was awarded all 1’s, the highest prize that a marching band can receive, at the Class 5A, Region XIV University Interscholastic League Marching Band Contest at Wildcats Stadium in Calallen Saturday night.

“We start practicing August 1st,” said Blaze Benavides, an Alice High School junior. “It’s really hot out there and its hard work teaching the Freshmen technique and stamina.”

This most recent contest, held at Calallen High School, was the last for many of the Alice band members, something that they say is both sad and exciting.

“I can’t believe we’ve been doing this for four years and now it’s over,” said one senior section leader. Her feelings were echoed by many of the other 22 section leaders who were able to show off their newly acquired trophy from the regional competition.

The band performed a show entitled ‘Carnival Espana’, which consisted of four different movements and over 210 different marchers.

“The fourth movement was the best part,” said senior Madisen Rinche. “It really is the climax of the show and the audience can feel the excitement.”

All of the sections leaders agreed, however, that the third movement was by far the most challenging. They cited the slow tempo of the music and explained how it was difficult to march without the help of percussion.

“With no percussion to keep the beat, it’s a lot of listening and watching,” explained Benavides.

As soon as the band members took the field last weekend, they could tell that they were ready to give this their best shot.

“You could feel the intensity,” said Rinche.

Alice High School band director, Arnold Garza, could tell they were to have a great show as well.

“The anticipation never goes away,” said Garza. "From practicing at the school, to getting on the bus and then when we step into the warm-up room, the intensity goes up 10 notches.”

As the students were awaiting their results, Garza said that he “knew they had received all ones.” He explained that these students were in charge of teaching the underclassmen and how they were “goal-oriented” and “driven”.

“The results we see on the field are because of these section leaders. I’m the director, but I tell them that ultimately this is their (section leaders) group,” said Garza.

Next up for the AHS band is the contest season. They will begin focusing on all new music and leave ‘Carnival Espana’ behind. But these students and their director will never forget the joy of hearing their perfect results being announced over the loudspeakers Saturday night.