Written by Phil Cerroni
By Tracy Begland
The Coppell High School Band’s contest season ended with a top five finish at the UIL State 5A Marching Band Contest in San Antonio.
The Nov. 6 state competition at the Alamodome opened with a preliminary round featuring the top 38 bands in the state. The 350-member Coppell band performed their show “The Spectrum: the Sounds of Richard Wagner.” Their program began with a slow march from the sideline accompanied by a woodwind ensemble featuring four Texas All State musicians.
A powerful sound along with crisp marching drills entertained the audience as the group performed Wagner compositions including Die Meistersinger, Pilgrims’ Chorus, and Lohengrin. The color guard accentuated the mood of each movement, unfurling five sets of colorful flags.
The judges ranked the band fourth overall in the preliminary contest, earning Coppell a spot in the finals. That evening the state’s top 10 bands took to the field.
“Very seldom do you have a band perform at the finals better than they did at prelims,” said head band director Scott Mason."This year our band did.” Mason said the band devised strategies to make their show even better the second time if they made finals.
At the conclusion of the evening’s performances, the cavernous stadium grew quiet as spectators and the competing bands awaited the results.
Coppell finished fifth in the state, missing a three way tie for third by one point. North Texas was represented by Flower Mound Marcus, Hebron, and L. D. Bell. Those bands filled three of the other top five spots.
The band’s journey to state did not begin when they loaded the eight charter buses bound for San Antonio, or even during the two-a-day practices in August heat. Mason said success at state began much earlier.
“Part of the reason the marching band is so successful is the hard work that goes on from November to June,” he said. “Students work on their All State music and solos through the rest of the year, making them better musicians and the marching band better each year.”
Coppell High School has the opportunity to compete at the state level every other year. Nearly 250 bands competed in UIL contests across the state in mid-October. Bands earning a One Rating advanced to area competitions. Coppell, along with Duncanville, Berkner, and Rowlett, represented Area C at the state event. Participation in the state marching contest has become a tradition for the Coppell High School band. This year marks the 11th time the band has qualified at the state level.
CHS band president Taylor Harwood said she could not be more proud of the 2012 CHS Marching Band.
"The time and dedication we have put into this program is outstanding,” Harwood said. "We have achieved unity this year more than any other year I've been in the program, and I thank everyone for such a memorable year.”
In addition to their success at State, the Coppell High School Marching Band earned a top 10 finish at the Bands of America Regional in Denton, a sweep of all 5A awards at the Mesquite Marching Contest, and a first place finish at the Duncanville Marching Contest.
Mason summed up his band’s performance this way: “The best yet.”