Parents, siblings, grandparents and neighbors, along with other friends and fans of the nationally acclaim, award-winning Spirit of Waxahachie Indian band, gathered in the stands of Lumpkins Stadium Friday evening to support their favorite band member and the band program as a whole.

They also came for the entertainment, with the band performing several different pieces of music, some accompanied with marching choreography.

The band also performed a portion of their UIL contest show.

In Texas, high school marching bands compete for the state title every other year. This is a state year for WHS, which hopes to compete for the Division 4 state championship at the Texas UIL State Marching Contest which will be held in San Antonio in November.

In order to reach the state level, the band must first advance in the district and regional contests.

As part of the band’s tradition, the program hosts a community ice cream social as a way to thank the community for its support. The social also serves as an opportunity to give a “sneak peak” of this year’s show and to introduce members of the band, staff and booster club.

Director of bands Rich Armstrong introduced each musical number, stressing to the crowd that the performance of each piece was a work in progress.

“It’s a process,” Armstrong said. “In 10 weeks from now we want to be done.”

By that time, the program should reach the level of excellence for which members are striving, Armstrong said, noting the focus this year is clean marching, “clean and fundamentally sound.”

Armstrong introduced the drum majors and members of the 2007-08 Spirit of Waxahachie Indian Marching Band and the Waxahachie ISD band staff for the high school, junior high and Turner Middle School programs.

Band booster president Ronnie McMahan introduced the 2007-08 officers, including vice president Lisa Pope, assistant vice president of concessions Scott Crouch, assistant vice president of fund-raising Sheila Wheaton, assistant vice president of special projects Robert Ashley, assistant vice president of communications Carol Kimberlin, secretary Virginia Tipton, treasurer Diana Lund, junior high representative Edward Quintana, and Turner Middle School representatives Larry Green and Nancy Clifford.

“It’s a privilege to work with this group. They’re awesome,” McMahan said.

Armstrong thanked the band boosters for their “tireless efforts and outstanding contributions” over the years, including funds that were used to purchase a state-of-the-art sound system for the band this year.

Armstrong also called Waxahachie Daily Light Editor Neal White up to the front to be honored for his service to the band during the years.

Armstrong made several other announcements, including that the color guard will have new uniforms this year.

“The girls will be very beautiful and elegant,” Armstrong said. “It will fit with our show.”

Before dismissing everyone for ice cream, Armstrong invited former band alumnae, “anyone who ever marched,” to join the band on the field for the school song to close the program.

“I really am proud of these kids and I believe that they can do what we need to do,” Armstrong said.

Freshman tenor saxophonist Melinda Louque said of the performance, “It was a lot of fun.”

Asked to describe her first performance as a member of the high school band, Louque said, “I wasn’t nervous of the crowd. I was nervous about messing up the others in the band.”

She said she didn’t want to upset other members of the band, those who weren’t freshmen and new to this, by making a wrong move.

“But, actually, the upper classmen are really helpful,” she said.

“We’re excited,” said WHS band parent Tammye Wright, whose son and youngest child is freshman Taylor Wright, a member of the percussion section.

“Tonight was emotional for me,” she said. “I was remembering when my daughter Whitney was in the band.”

Taylor Wright said he is excited about the choice of this year’s music, “Beyond Caravan,” an up-tempo compilation of that Armstrong said “will have everyone on their feet.”

The band’s next performance will be Saturday, Sept. 1, at Texas Stadium during the Waxahachie Indians vs. Highland Park Scots football game.

E-mail Jennifer at Jennifer.howell@waxahachiedailylight.com