The Highlander Band advanced to finals during Wednesday’s UIL 5A State Marching Band Contest at the Alamodome in San Antonio and finished the marching season ranked tenth overall out of 250 5A bands in Texas. The 140-member Highlander Band was one of the smallest to compete in the state contest and was by far the smallest band to advance to finals competition.
"As I had the opportunity to witness the Highlander Band's performance at State this year, I was humbly proud of what the students, directors, and parents were able to accomplish," Highland Park High School Principal, Walter Kelly, said. "The last seven years have been a wonderful journey, and their State Finals performance was a great point on this journey."
This historic achievement marks the Highlander Band’s first-ever trip to the state marching contest and served as a fitting finish to the band’s most winning season in history.
“This band has far exceeded anything we could have dreamed of at the beginning of the season,” said Reagan Brumley, Instrumental Music Director for HPISD and Director of the Highlander Band. Still, he booked hotel rooms for the band back in July . . . just in case!
It took that kind of faith and commitment to bring the band’s wedding-themed, 2017 marching show, “I Do,” from concept to state finalist contention. The show, inspired by the 30-plus-year marriage of the parents of Corey Parks, Assistant Director of Bands for Highland Park High School, came to life through collaboration with Brumley, James LaBrecque, fellow Assistant Director of Bands and Director of Percussion for the Highlander Band, and Danny Martinez, Color Guard Director for both HPHS and Highland Park Middle School.
But it was the heart of the band members, color guard, and featured dancer, Elizabeth Ann Meier, a Highland Belle, that made the show score big with judges and audiences alike.
Earlier in the season, one band fan commenting on the www.txbands.com noted: “THEY. SOLD. IT. It was their passion that everyone was purchasing, and nothing could hold them back. I can almost guarantee you that every single member of that band was BOUGHT IN and believed fully in both their goal and the resources to get there. Their stage presence was enormous, considering their size. Out of all the bands there, they had the most heart.”
To get to state, the Highlander Band had to make it through the highly-competitive UIL 5A Area C, which produced five bands that advanced to state: Waxahachie, with 220 members; Poteet, with 240 members; Forney, with 206 members; The Colony, with 172 members; and Highland Park. Waxahachie and Poteet also advanced to state finals with the Highlander Band, placing third and fifth, respectively.