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October 24, 2013

County bands move to area round

Marching contest winners compete Saturday for chance to go to state

Athens — Bands from Henderson County area schools have all completed their regional University Interscholastic League regional competition, and some of the top scoring units are headed for the area round on Saturday.

In class 2A competition, the Malakoff band directed by Chad Bentley brought home perfect first-division scores from all three judges in the Region 3 contest, held at Memorial Stadium in Mesquite.

Malakoff will be joined at the area contest in Denton by the Eustace band. Director Todd Felty’s unit earned a first division from two of the three judges and an overall first-division rating.

Director James Polk’s Kemp band also netted the top mark from two of the judges and won an area trip.  The bands are judged on three categories, including music performance, musicianship and marching execution.

In Class A, the Cayuga band directed by Larry Firmin and Cross Roads, directed by Alissa Brown will also travel north on Saturday. Their area contest is set for Northwest Stadium in Judson.

Unlike many UIL competitions, bands can only advance past the regional round to area and state contests in alternating years. In 2012, classes 3A and 5A bands competed. This year, it’s classes A, 2A and 4A.

According to the UIL, the cost to schools of transporting their bands to state contests each year was becoming excessive, prompting the change.

The current format, which was adopted in 1991, allows more schools from each classification to go to the next round. The last Henderson County band to compete at the state contest was Brownsboro in 2010.

The Athens “Pride of the Hornets” Band earned its ninth straight first-division “superior” rating at the regional contest on Oct. 19 in Longview. Although Athens can’t advance in the UIL contest this year, they’ll be headed on Nov. 2  for the National Association of Military Bands competition at Homer Bryce Stadium on the campus of Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches.

Brownsboro also racked up another first division. Mabank, another strong 3A band program, earned a second division “excellent” rating at the regional contest in Mesquite.

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