Written by Phil Cerroni
By Phil Cerroni
In recent weeks, Dallas’ local channel, WFAA has been spotlighting the communities around Dallas on their morning show, Good Morning Texas. This past week was Irving’s turn to show itself to the rest of the Metroplex on July 27.
Chatty and excited high school students bubbled contentedly in small pockets around Victory Plaza in downtown Dallas sporting their club’s colors and waiting for their chance to be on television. The first two groups of students to arrive were spirit squads and the “Megaband” comprised of students from all three of Irving’s high schools.
“We’ve done this kind of thing before at times, mainly with the percussion for the Fourth of July parade,” said Don Jackson, the band director at Nimitz.
But even when being asked to pull off the impossible, the bands are not given much time.
“We had a group rehearsal yesterday to pull all three Irving ISD high schools together,” Jackson continued, talking about the band’s extremely fast mobilization and workup.
Fidencio Martinez, a trumpeter for MacArthur was the most excited of his friends to be downtown that early.
“I’m excited because it’s really early in the morning, nobody’s up. We’re about to wake everybody up,” Fidencio said.
Although Irving ISD combined three bands into one, they did no such thing for the other organizations in attendance. There were cheerleaders from every high school and middle school. There were spirit squads from all three high schools got up in their festive finery, there were jocks, and there were geeks. But diversity brings other things along with it – rivalry. Karlos Blas, another MacArthur student, admitted that high school rivalry followed the students to Dallas that morning.
“You see different clicks, Irving hanging out with Irving, MacArthur hanging out with MacArthur sizing each other up, trying to see who’s better than the other,” Karlos said.
But Karlos and his friends said there were going to be no spontaneous outbursts of gratuitous “school spirit” that morning.
Another group with a large number of attendees was the Irving Police Explorers: a program that gives young people a look into police life in order to see if they want to follow it as a career
“We came down because we’re dedicated, and we want to be here,” said the group’s unofficial spokesman Nick Kammerer. “Irving has done a lot for us as far as putting us in the program and giving us opportunities; so we want to give back to Irving by representing it.”
The monitors in the plaza displayed the expectant crowd, signaling the start of the broadcast. Irving residents burst into exuberant cheers as they prepared to be piped into every household that happened to have the television sets on at that hour of the morning.
The “Megaband” and choral group shattered the night with a rousing anthem, changing the dull roar of the crowed into a mixture of silence, vocal accompaniment and cheers. The spirit squads sprang into action, working overtime to excite the crowd as goodies were thrown into the crowd by event staff and cheerleaders stumbled over themselves (sometimes literally) in order to get the loudest most noticeable cheer.
The event’s organizer Mary Beth Sloan was very positive about the effect and impact the gathering was having.
“I think the goal of the event really is to brand Irving and let the community know what great amenities we have, what great schools we have, restaurants, clubs, and all the opportunities that are in Irving,” Sloan said. “WFAA said this is the largest group they’ve had yet, so I think that’s success.”