The community is planning a special send off Monday morning as community members will line U.S. Highway 77 as the band departs Waxahachie High School on their way to the Texas UIL State Marching Contest in San Antonio.

The band is scheduled to leave the high school at 8:45 a.m. Monday, heading south on U.S. Highway 77. Residents and businesses are encouraged to come out and salute the band as they represent our community.

The state marching contest will be held starting Tuesday morning at the Alamodome, with Waxahachie marching in the preliminaries at 8:15 a.m. The Daily Light will be covering the state contest from San Antonio and will be posting updates on our website and social media sites throughout the day. Tuesday evening (TBD), the top 10 bands will be announced for finals. Those bands will each perform one additional show for the judges, with the top-scoring band named state champion.

“We’re looking good. This isn’t our first trip to state and we know what to expect,” said WISD Director of Bands Rich Armstrong. “The kids know at this level, you are facing the top bands in the state of Texas and we have to perform at that level. They are capable, we just can’t make any mistakes.”

The Spirit of Waxahachie Indian Marching Band qualified for the state contest on Monday, finishing first at the area contest in Mesquite.

“We had a good show,” Armstrong said. “We went into finals as the second seed and finished first with all five judges unanimously selecting us for state. While it was a good show, we watched the tape and there are a lot of things that need to be cleaned before we march in the Alamodome.”

With the exception of narrowly missing a state bid at the 2007 area contest, WHS has been a perennial contender at the Texas UIL State Marching Contest since 2005 — including making the finals in each of the last three contests.

As for the program’s success, Armstrong praised the dedication and commitment of the students.

“To get to this level where your program is recognized as one of the best, it takes dedication. It takes commitment and a lot of hard work. It’s all about taking care of business. That’s what we do,” Armstrong said. “In this band, everyone works hard and everyone takes on a leadership role.

This year’s contest show, entitled “Forbidden Love,” chronicles the story of Romeo and Juliet. The musical selection was actually a last-minute substitution as Armstrong had second thoughts about the program he had initially selected for the students to march this season.

“As I was listening to the music, I could hear our kids playing the notes into my headphones. At that moment, I know this was the show we should be doing. And it was specifically written for the Alamodome,” Armstrong said during a prior interview during summer band camp.

With Waxahachie’s ticket punched for the big show in San Antonio on Tuesday, how does Armstrong feel about his band, and the show that was specifically written to be performed at the Texas UIL State Marching Contest.

“We’ll be ready,” he said. “You’ve known me long enough to know I don’t make any promises that are beyond my control. But I will tell you the kids will be ready. And, they will be great. They will certainly put on a great show for the folks in San Antonio.”

 Contact Neal at nwhite@waxahachietx.com or 469-517-1470. Follow Neal on Facebook at Neal White – Waxahachie Newspapers Inc., or on Twitter at wni_nwhite.