EDITOR’S NOTE: Chip Autry is a senior member of the nationally-recognized Spirit of Waxahachie Indian Band. Playing percussion in the drumline, he is chronicling the marching band during the 2015 season in the band’s bid to return to the Texas UIL State Marching Band Competition.
This last week the Spirit of Waxahachie Indian Band travelled to the University of Texas in Arlington to compete in the Bands of America regional competition.
This competition attracts amazing band programs from Texas and surrounding states. Additionally, when it comes to picking spots for finals, every school, regardless of class distinction, is pitted against each other. At the end of the day, the Waxahachie Band came out 12th out of 32, missing finals by the incredible margin of .65 of a point. Put simply, the band had never been that close to a finals performance at BoA before, and a fire was lit in many students to claim back that marginal difference and then go on winning further.
As the days (kind of) get colder with each passing week, the looming realization of the Texas UIL State Marching Contest has slowly come over many of the students. Early November seems a lot closer than it did at the first contest; however, students now finds themselves only three weeks away from the pinnacles of their season. This immensely prestigious moment happens only twice for those of us at Waxahachie High School, and the contest has a different meaning for everyone.
For the underclassmen, their first trip to State is almost like a ceremonial rite of passage within the band program. Once the whole thing is all said and done, if you managed to make it through an entire state year with the program, you can probably survive anything life has to throw at you. Performing in the Alamodome in San Antonio leaves you with a raging desire just to be able to perform there one more time. And just spending three days off from school with the people who share the same passion as you, regardless of what band they’re from, creates an environment of musical excellence and camaraderie unparalleled anywhere in the state of Texas.
For upperclassmen like myself, it’s the last one. After that last finals performance underneath the massive dome, there won’t be another state year to “try again” like there was two years ago. It seems a little sad I suppose, and in way, it really is; however, in so many other ways it’s a little exciting. The pressure is on like it has never been before, and it drives us students to push ourselves into a new realm of excellence. Sure, the time spent with friends on the last state trip ever is ultimately the last time one can experience something like that, but the memories made in those brief yet staggeringly important few days are going to be the kind that last all of us a lifetime, especially if we can snag a medal to put on our belts at the end of it.
Whether we’re ready or not, the State Marching Contest is moving forward at a rapid pace, ever closer to the moment where the Spirit of Waxahachie Indian Band finds out just how far their passion can take them.
With luck, all the way to gold.