The Spirit of Waxahachie Indian Band will soon experience a new campus, new uniforms, new competition and a new philosophy.
As longtime band director Richard Armstrong gave a tour of the various rooms that comprise the department's space at the new high school, chairs and music stands could be seen in every room — from the music library to the storage areas.
“We are going from 7,600 square feet to 15,000 square feet,” Armstrong explained. “From smaller storage rooms to larger storage rooms. So the functionality of the program allows us to break up in different ways that we didn’t have before, all inside the facility.”
With a diverse space, the students can accomplish more, and on any regular school day, instruction will take place in all three band halls. Also, eight soundproof rehearsal rooms line the main band hall — a 5,000-square foot space marked to semi-replicate a football field. Several storage areas, a teacher's office, a locker room and a music library also make up the department.
At the former campus, overflow would venture off into the random classrooms. Now, the students have an entire department dedicated to them. The divided space also allows WHS to host contests.
With the significant space, there’s room for more musicians too. But, the WHS band program is not for just anyone.
“Not everyone subscribes to the level of work or the level of intensity, and so we filter every year, and people say, ‘It’s not for me.’ The people who say this is for them, the pay off is huge — they are part of one of the best bands in Texas,” Armstrong stressed.
Armstrong then listed the numerous, prestigious achievements of the band in previous years and pointed out that the facility they practiced in had nothing to do with their accomplishments. He did mention the kids have responded well to the new facility and being able to practice on turf instead of concrete is a delight.
“It doesn’t matter where we are at, we are going to make the best of it," Armstrong affirmed. "Whether we are on a turf field or concrete field or a grass field with holes, we are going to succeed because that’s what we really teach our kids is success and excellence.”
Armstrong explained how the band is comprised of a variety of students and not the typical student. This year he strives to work on the top 10 percent of the band members, those who are exceptional, take the initiative and serve as leaders. His thought is if the leaders are strong, then they can also influence their peers.
“What I’m trying to do is get my kids more gung-ho without me having to do anything, and it’s paying off. Our band right now is ahead of where any band I’ve had here has been this time of year," Armstrong elaborated.
During half-time performances, concerts and competitions this year, the community can expect the most athletic productions the school has put on with elaborate choreography, movement, as well as a stronger band.
“Our goal is to make 6A finals and win it. Our goal is to be one of the best bands the state has no matter what 'A' we are,” Armstrong emphasized.
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Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450