The Taylor High School band and color guard returned from a UIL marching contest on October 19 with a Superior Division I rating from every judge on the panel, the highest possible honor. The 2019 trophy marks the 20th consecutive year the Duck Band has earned an overall Division I rating at the UIL regional marching competition.
“I’m really excited about the show this year,” said THS band director, David Motl. “I feel like the students enjoyed playing it and the audience enjoyed listening to it. I’m really proud of the kids, they did a really good job. I think that moving forward into next year things are just going to get better and better for band and color guard.”
Motl has been with the band for all 20 years of earning the top rating. He described the current show as more of a production for the audience’s enjoyment rather than just a piece for competition. It’s a trend he has observed over the past couple of decades.
“The marching band is completely different than it was 20 years ago,” Motl said. “Back then, you just picked three songs and sometimes they had something to do with each other and sometimes they didn’t have anything to do with each other. It’s gotten more competitive, the music is different and more goes into it.”
The color guard was added into the show five years ago and director Marcie Svatek has become the design specialist for each production. The theme of the 2019 show is Leaving Here Tomorrow from the Lynyrd Skynyrd song, Freebird. In the show, segments of Freebird are used to symbolize the travel from one place to another. Other songs in the show are American in Paris, Africa and New York, New York.
“I’m really going to miss this show and I’m going to miss these seniors,” Svatek said. “I’m very proud of their artwork. They got a good dose of competition and they worked really hard, performing better than they had all year.”
Drum major, Seighan Jones, believes teamwork has played an important role in the group’s overall success.
“I feel like teamwork and being friends with everyone helps,” Jones said. “Without being friends with everybody and being able to connect with everybody, we wouldn’t have been able to work as a team.”
Color guard captain, Ansley Bartoli, believes leadership played a significant role as well.
“We have two great directors that have been able to help us truly know what we are doing and work it all out and make everything fine-tuned.” Bartoli commented.
While marching competition is over for this year, the band will have plenty of opportunities to showcase their music in other areas. Region band auditions are in December and that is the first step in advancing toward the area band and then the all-state band.
They have also started the process of planning for next year’s marching competition.
“Next year is an advancing year for 4A schools, so we will have the opportunity to advance to area and possibly to state next year,” Motl said. “We want to put out the best production we can, so we are already looking at changing drill writers and possibly using a different music arranger and just getting the best quality product on the field that we can and making it look and sound as good as it can. It’s just gotten really competitive and we’ve kind of made a name for ourselves in the marching band world.”