Two Saturday’s ago at the Plano East Marching Invitational the MHS Royal Pride went where no previous MHS band had gone before. They not only won a caption award but took home four of the six available awards in Class 4A. They also took 1st place over all in Class 4A. Later in the evening the Royal Pride went up against the 5A bands in the Grand Finale and beat every one of them except Duncanville, placing 2nd over all.
Even with the great start to the band season on October 8, the Royal Pride still had work to do prior to the UIL Regional Marching Contest held this past weekend at Clark Stadium, Plano. The initial success of the preliminary rounds brought a nervousness to the band in the Grand Finale that Senior Drum Major Nick Mills previously noted, “Caused mistakes this band never makes.” Throughout the past week the Royal Pride worked hard to address timing and synchronicity as well as musical tone issues.
For marching bands, this past weekend was the Regional round of UIL Marching which serves as a qualifying point on the road to State Championships. Three judges consider the fundamental skills and proficiency of each band as they present their performance show. Bands must receive a superior rating of 1 to advance to the UIL Area competition where the highest performing bands are invited to the Alamo Dome in San Antonio to march for the title of State Champion.
Indeed, one hard week of work shored up some of the problems the Royal Pride encountered in the Plano East Invitational. Musical tone sounded better than the previous week. Fewer weapons hit the ground in the Color guard rifle line. Still, “The Pride” faltered in some new areas and timing remained a problem. One student unfortunately stumbled. The final portion of the program (part 3 -”Time’s Up!) was very difficult and out of sync. At one critical point the marching lines became especially ragged during a “Jazz Run” across show center in the very final portion of their program. Even given these faltering steps the overall program still came off as slightly improved over the week before.
The whole program also ended up providing a learning opportunity in adversity for the band. Unbeknownst to them the announcer’s microphone had been left on. This caused a cascading echo throughout their performance as stadium noise, clapping and their own music played back to them several seconds later through the scoreboard speakers at Clark Stadium. Try singing 5 or 6 part “do wap” harmony in a gigantic 10 story stairwell and you’ll get the idea. Never the less the Pride focused, endured and persevered. The complexity of their marching program and the improvements in tone and musicianship outweighed any mistakes earning them straight 1s from each judge thus allowing the Royal Pride to advance to the Area Marching Contest that will be held in Carrollton at the end of the month.
Director of Bands Ken Ringel is very proud of his troops. “The band has been doing great things this year! We are so excited to be competing in the Area Marching Contest.”
While the judging comments included some big picture items to work on, most of the critiques were now focused on ways to finish out the program and fully convey the message of their show.
Ringel has noted to the band that they will be working on many details from the past two competitions. He has also told them to step back look at their work thus far and then challenged them to, “See only the sky as their limit!”
The Royal Pride has stampeded out of the gates this year. Though better than years past they certainly haven’t been perfect. However, they have neither complained nor made excuses for those things they believe can be done better. The Royal Pride has two weeks of intense practice remaining until the Area competition which will determine who represents North Texas at the State Marching Competition in San Antonio this coming November. Can the 2011-12 Royal Pride be the first MISD band to make it past Area to State since the MISD began building new High Schools? They will be facing stiff competition in the most competitive Marching Band region in the State where typically only 1 in 5 finalists are chosen to represent the area at State.
In the past two weeks the Royal Pride has overcome rain, double digit wind gusts and microphone/P.A. Malfunctions. Not a single member believes the Pride has given their best show. Having missed the opportunity for State two years ago this is also the last chance for the Royal Pride’s Juniors and Seniors to go to the Alamo Dome.
Want to bet against them? Remember, for this event “The sky is the limit!”