The Eagle's Tale

‘Opus’ presents premier performance

Band advances to UIL State Marching Competition

The+Soaring+Pride+band+competes+at+the+area+contest+where+they+earned+the+right+to+perform+in+San+Antonio+at+the+Alamodome+Wednesday%2C+Nov.+7.
The Soaring Pride band competes at the area contest where they earned the right to perform in San Antonio at the Alamodome Wednesday, Nov. 7.

The Soaring Pride band competes at the area contest where they earned the right to perform in San Antonio at the Alamodome Wednesday, Nov. 7.

Courtesy of Kaelynn Thompson

Courtesy of Kaelynn Thompson

The Soaring Pride band competes at the area contest where they earned the right to perform in San Antonio at the Alamodome Wednesday, Nov. 7.

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From the August heat to the October chill. From pre-dawn practices to post-dusk run-throughs. From March-A-Thon to football games. From parades to award-winning competition performances. Every repetition, every ounce of sweat and every experience has led to this moment. The Soaring Pride band is advancing to State.

Nearing the end of their award-winning marching season, the Soaring Pride Band traveled to Lowery Field in Lubbock Oct. 27, where they competed in the UIL Area A Central 4A Marching Competition. The band’s show, “Opus,” received a first place rating from four out of the five judges at the competition, qualifying them to compete in the UIL State Marching Contest set for Nov. 7 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

We’ve worked so hard to reach this point that I really think ‘Opus’ is what we were meant to do.”

— Macy McClish, 11

I was really nervous about our preliminary performance,” junior drum major Macy McClish said. “All of the anxiety I hadn’t felt up until that point collided before prelims, but I had a feeling we would do really well. After finding out we got first in prelims, I was not worried about finals. I thought if we could do that well in prelims, we had finals in the bag.”

McClish said the finals performance was the best the band has displayed thus far.

“I just felt so proud,” McClish said. “It just seemed like everything clicked. Everything somehow just worked. It was just really amazing to hear. At first, ‘Opus’ was just another title for another show. But now, with the season progressing, it means to me a great creation done by us. We’ve worked so hard to reach this point that I really think ‘Opus’ is what we were meant to do. This is the legacy this band is going to leave.”

Junior featured French horn player Aaron Neeley said the emotion he felt when hearing the band announced as an advancer was unparallelled.

Every eight-to-five step, every toes up, every repetition of seemingly small things will get us where we really want to end up.”

— Maggie Bell, 12

When our name was announced as a state advancer, my first thought was, ‘We did it,’” Neeley said. “We put in so much work with the single hope that we would get to march in the Alamodome one day. Hearing our name announced, all I could think was ‘We did it.’ I felt pride, joy, relief–every positive feeling imaginable. In addition to that, I had a strong feeling of connection to every single person around me.”

Senior drum soloist Jarrett Johnson said the area competition went well, but there are several areas he said he wants to improve before going to State.

“I think there’s always room to improve, but overall I thought we had two very high-energy shows and they went very well,” Johnson said. “Now, the goal is to be perfect. We need to lock everything together and be as perfect as possible. I’m not looking at State preparation any differently than how I look at all of our rehearsals. I just go day-to-day and make every moment count.”

Senior clarinet soloist Maggie Bell said the focus when preparing for the state contest needs to be on fundamental details.

We want to make finals, we want to medal, we want to win, but mostly, I want the students to be able to have a video that they can look back on and be proud of.”

— Mike Sheffield, head band director

“When we started band in the summer, it was a very intimidating schedule,” Bell said. “We had four three-a-day rehearsals, and most of the other days were two-a-days. It was really long and hot, but those are the days that count the most. Everything goes back to that preparation we had in summer band. We need to look back at what we used to do. Every eight-to-five step, every toes up, every repetition of seemingly small things will get us where we really want to end up.”

Head band director Mike Sheffield said every rehearsal is conducted deliberately and with details in mind.

“The band needs to be doing their best every rep,” Sheffield said. “There should never be a moment in rehearsal where the focus lapses, we get distracted, or make mistakes because of mental error. As far as the directors go, we always have a plan and it adjusts as needed. We know what we’re going to hit, we know what we need to do to make that happen, and we’re all taking care of our own specific sections. We do all that we can to make those sections the best they could possibly be.”

Sheffield said “Opus” is a unique show which he thinks has the potential of placing well at the state competition.

“I haven’t done very many if any classical music shows,” Sheffield said. “This opportunity came up and I definitely embraced it. I think every day working on this show has been like getting to know a friend. You realize every day that you like this person a little bit better. So for me it’s been special in that I’ve never gotten tired of the show and I’ve only become more fond of it. Once we are finished with the show, it is going to be very hard to let it go.”

Sheffield said while he believes the band will do well in San Antonio, his real goal is to have the best performance possible.

“We want to make finals, we want to medal, we want to win, but mostly, I want the students to be able to have a video that they can look back on for years and years and years and be proud of,” Sheffield said. “I want them to have memories attached to that video that they constantly want to revisit and just have a great sense of pride for decades about the job they did.”

Sheffield said despite their fatigue, the band’s morale is high and everyone believes in their ability to do well.

“If we were done right now and I was reflecting on the season, I would say to the band, ‘This is the most talented and hard-working group of people I have ever gotten to work with,’” Sheffield said. “I have been inspired to work harder because I have been in front of them. Moving forward, I would say their best is good enough, but we have to give it our best every minute of every single day.”

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About the Writer
Aryauna Thompson, Staff Reporter

Hello! This is my third year as a staff reporter on The Eagle's Tale staff. I am incredibly excited to yet again work with such an incredible team of journalists....

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