Highlander Band Celebrates Two Invitational Wins Ahead Of UIL

marching band hoping for spot at state after multiple first-place wins


Elsa Pedrosa

Freshman Kate Mader plays away on her Marimba during a performance of the band's 2019 production "Play." The entire percussion section earned the "Best Percussion" caption award at the Midlothian Marching Showcase.

The Highlander Band placed first for the second and third time in the band’s history at their first two competitions of the season.

On Sept. 28, the band competed in the Mansfield Preview of Champions against bands from 5A and 6A schools. This year, 26 schools participated and the Highlander Band placed first. 

 “The fact that we won over 6A schools and got first place out of everybody was really incredible because we haven’t done that for two years,” freshman percussionist Paige Pietruszewski said. 

In addition to this, they also won awards for Best Visual Performance, Best Marching and Best Overall Music Effect, which is an award based on how well the music fits the band’s chosen theme and how well it’s performed. The band believes that their success comes from the way they practice.

“The band practices so many hours a week before and after school,” junior trombone-player Bradley Harrod said. “It’s a big time commitment.” 

In addition to practicing every day during the school week, the band started practicing a month before school began. Their summer was cut short as they spent around eight hours a day playing the show music, learning how to march and rehearsing their formations in the show. Now that they know the full marching show, the band is always finding ways to enhance their performances. 

“We’re taking the judge’s comments and applying that to our playing, so there’s lots of room for improvement,” band director Corey Parks said. “We’ve just gotta keep grinding and going”.

The Highlander Band has a recent history of success. Two years ago, they advanced to the Texas State Marching Contest and competed in the finals round for the first time in the programs history. In addition to this, the band has also advanced to the finals of the Area C Marching Contest in all recent years, and have competed in many other championships around the DFW area. 

“We’re looking forward to hopefully making it to state again this year,” Parks said. “Hopefully state finals as well, but we’ve got a lot of work to do, so we’ll see what happens” 

The band’s next competition was on Saturday Oct. 5 at the Midlothian Marching Showcase, where they placed first against nine other bands. They also received awards for Best Marching, Percussion, Color Guard, Music Performance and Visual Proficiency.

“I look forward to [the band] performing in front of the crowd and getting the reaction they deserve,” Parks said. “Being out there and seeing people laugh, giggle and applaud . . . and after the show coming up and saying ‘Wow! That was one of my favorite shows!’. . . I think that’s what I look forward to the most”.

The band is currently preparing for the Area Marching Contest on Oct. 26 in hopes of qualifying for the Texas State Marching Contest next month. For a behind the scenes look at what a marching contest is like, check out our photo gallery.