Cooperative News

3 PEC-area high schools place in top 10 at state marching band contest

Congratulations to Cedar Park, Dripping Springs and Rouse High Schools!

On Nov. 8, the Alamodome in San Antonio was packed with anxious high school students awaiting the much-anticipated results of the University Interscholastic League (UIL) 5A state marching band contest. After a 12-hour day of incredible performances from schools all over Texas, the Cedar Park, Dripping Springs and Rouse High School marching bands were ranked first, second and ninth place in the state this year.

Cedar Park High School Band Director Steve Wessels and his students were “on pins and needles” before they were named this year’s champion. Their win came as a surprise to them all despite this being Cedar Park High School’s fourth UIL win.

“The place just erupted whenever they announced second place because at that exact moment, you know who won the competition,” Wessels said. “We were all in awe of the moment, and I just kept saying, ‘Wow! I can’t believe we did it.'”

This was Rouse High School’s first year to place in the UIL 5A contest, and Band Director Jason Robb, who was assistant band director at Cedar Park next to Wessels two years ago, was overwhelmed by the results of their performance.

“I was incredibly excited for our kids,” Robb said. “The kids totally freaked out whenever they announced we were ninth place. We don’t emphasize the importance of competition with [the students], we just encourage them to focus on doing [their] best. The fact that we worked so hard and succeeded was just icing on the cake.”

Preparation for the UIL contest starts as early as January. Concepts, music and performance details are discussed and finalized before the students start to learn the production in August. Each marching band is allowed to practice a maximum of eight hours a week outside of school hours, according to UIL requirements. Practice makes perfect, and from August to November, these band students call their campuses their second home.

The regional level contests took place Oct. 24, and about 35 of the schools that competed in October were invited to perform at the preliminaries in November, which determined the final 5A state scores and placing. The UIL contest is only held every other year, but because our high-ranking bands’ directors are always working hard to make each individual student the best they can be, they will continue to participate in other competitions next year, said Dripping Springs Band Director Keith Lancaster.

“We’re really proud of the kids and the recognition they were given at UIL this year,” he said. “They are the hardest working group of kids I know, and the staff, parents and community can’t say enough about what they’ve accomplished this season.”

From heating the band hall to lighting the practice area in the early hours, we’re proud to say that the Cedar Park, Dripping Springs and Rouse High School marching bands are powered by PEC.