Battlin’ Bears Band experiences state contest
November 21, 2016
Students file in the LCM auditorium and take their seats, teachers busy themselves with setting up the projector and speakers through which the performance will stream live; everyone is waiting in anticipation. 3oo miles away in the Alamodome of San Antonio, their classmates and fellow Bears straighten their uniforms, double check their instruments, and take deep, steadying breaths. They are about to perform at the 2016 State Marching Band Championship.
Just two weeks ago, the Battlin’ Bear Band performed their 2016 show, “DaVinci’s Playlist: The Anatomy of an Artist” and finished 11th at State. To add perspective, the LCM Band first gained a perfect score at the Regional contest, then fought for 3rd at Area by competing in the preliminary contest as well as finals before ever getting on the bus for State.
“We practiced everyday after school,” senior band member Jacob Wiggins said. “It was often hot, sweaty, and miserable, yet somehow paid off. As we got closer to state, practices got more intense because all of us wanted to do well, but throughout everything we made a lot of great memories.”
On the field, its easy to see the band as a mass of sounds and motions that come together to create this single performing unit, but the Band is actually made up of individuals who each have a role in the music, and choreography. If one person is off it can potentially throw the entire band off course. If a handful of students make a mistake it may even dismantle an entire segment of the show. That is why team work and collaboration are so important.
“It is astounding how the students all come together,” head band director Jose Ochoa said. “The band is like a machine, with each person contributing a vital component that the group couldn’t go without. The show depends on every student giving it their maximum effort, in sync with the person next to them, moving as one. It’s not easy or simple, but some how these kids do it with style.”
At 10:30 on competition day, the LCM auditorium was packed with teachers and students. When the projector screen and audio were ready to go, the lights went out and the live video stream was on. As the Battlin’ Bear Band got in formation and began to play, all the bears back home watched with pride. The crowd cheered enthusiastically (though they couldn’t be heard by their classmates). Afterwards, talk of the performance was all good things and high hopes. Later on, audio was played in the cafeteria, everyone eager for the results.
“I am actually really proud of my classmates,” senior Justice Butler said. “Everyone was super supportive and excited to see the band. I know personally I was happy to see one of my best friends, Harlee Simmons (Color Guard), at the Alamodome doing so great.”
Being out on the field was a little different for everyone. Each student had a slightly different role depending on their instrument or place in the formations, but they all did their best and gained something from it. The memories and hard work culminating into those few moments as the band put their heart into their show.
“A lot was going through my mind,” junior color guard member Tori Bland said. “All the long practices, all the run through, and all the work we out in; I just tried my best to make that performance the best one ever.”
The Alamodome wasn’t the only place the band went in San Antonio. The day after State, the Band got to chill out and have some fun by visiting the Katy Mills Mall and Main Event. Between the performance itself, the long bus ride, and the day of fun afterwards, the trip was an experience within itself. The band was able to leave San Antonio ranked 11th place out of all the 4A bands in the State of Texas.
“DaVinci’s Playlist was something I was really emotionally invested in,” senior Drum Major Valen Elliott said. “For the last time we performed the show to be in the Alamodome… there was no greater feeling. All of hard work we put into into it truly payed off and the memories we made I will cherish forever.”
Band starts contest season
The Battlin’ Bear Band competed in its first contest, the Small Town Big Sound Marching Festival, on Saturday, Sept. 24 in Friendswood. The band, which was the only 4A school competing in this pre-UIL contest, placed 14 out of 18, beating three 5A schools and one 6A school.
“The band as a whole did really great for our first contest of the season,” junior drum major Bayleigh Swanton said. “I think the band learned that we will always have something to work on.”
The band’s 2016 performance show is titled Da Vinci’s Playlist and includes works from pop artist Lucas Graham, grammy-winning American composer Eric Whitacre, and much more. The show has four movements with a different book prop for each one. Some of the props include the Mona Lisa, Vitruvian Man, and The Last Supper.
“It’s a modern twist on Da Vinci’s work and the music he would have listened to while painting and working.” Swanton said.
The band works for many hours each week in preparation for contests.
“We prepare for UIL contest by working bell to bell during school, working hard on marching and music after school, and by even having student led sectionals,” Swanton said. “Every section works hard individually so that when we have cleaning sectionals, which is when we run one set over and over, they are ahead of the game.”
The band’s goals for the season include not only doing well at contests, but reaching their full potential and putting on the best show they can every time they perform. For Swanton, who conducts the band during practices and performances, she hopes to be the best leader she can be and keep a positive attitude for the band.
“Positive attitudes constantly make an impact when reaching our goal and always pushing ourselves as individuals farther than we think we can go,” Swanton said. “Although it’s nerve-wracking, I love conducting at performances. Being able to do this is something I’ve wanted since my freshmen year.”
The band will compete at the Bridge City Marching Contest on Oct. 8 and the following week will compete at the Region Marching Contest. The region contest is their first UIL contest of the season. They must make a rating of one to advance to the Area contest and do well at Area to go to the State marching competition.