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Saturday, October 18, 1997

Bands gather for UIL marching contest

By JONATHAN KRYDER / Abilene Reporter-News

Thirty-one bands are gathering today for a dawn-to-dusk showdown at two Abilene stadiums in the region's UIL band marching contest.

Twenty-four bands from classes A, 2A and 3A will face off at Wylie's Bulldog Stadium with the first band taking the field at 8:45 a.m. Wylie will close the event at 4 p.m.

Beginning at 7 p.m. at Shotwell Stadium, Abilene High and Cooper will mix medleys with five other 3B (junior high), 4A and 5A bands. Cooper takes to the field at 8:15 p.m., and Abilene High closes the contest at 8:30 p.m.

Both contests have no admission charge.

This year, only top bands in even-numbered classes will advance to the state contest after today's competition. Cooper associate band director Jerry Gowler admitted that will make a difference on the field for his 5A band.

"On a state year, it'd probably be a little more intense," he said.

Abilene High director Paul Walker agreed but was quick to point out the importance of the regional event.

"It's the only opportunity we have this year to showcase what the kids can do on the field," he said. "It's like the district playoffs for marching bands."

Louis Thornton, Wylie contest chairman and band director, said he expects 2,000-3,000 spectators to show up at Wylie throughout the day. The Wylie Band Booster Club will assist Thornton and his associates in escorting bands to staging areas, keeping time and announcing the show. They'll also offer the usual concession-stand fare of hot dogs, candy and cheese nachos.

Besides a succession of thunderous melodies, the audience should expect a variety of art and design, Thornton said. Props and marching patterns are a crucial element of the show.

Contest rules specify that bands remain on the field for at least five minutes and finish in eight. Each band will receive a rating between one and five, depending on the quality of its style and sound. A rating of one is considered superior.

Thornton said the Wylie Pure Gold has spent four weeks preparing. The director drew up the movies-and-cartoons repertoire over a period of several weeks and revealed it for the first time Oct. 4 at the Big Country Marching Festival.

As a final touch, he called in a band clinician from Angelo State to critique the performance. Clinicians, having the advantage of a fresh view, can often detect faults in a band's performance the directors cannot see, Thornton said.

Wylie's 165-member band will open with "Cantina Band" from the "Star Wars" trilogy and move to cartoon songs, "This Is It" and "Merry-Go-Round Broken Down." The band will close with the James Bond theme song.

Thornton said the band, which features a 16-member flag corps, has no real advantage by playing at home.

"It's the same field and same markings for everyone," he said.

At Shotwell, the AHS band will play its usual repertoire, "Variations on a Korean Folk Song." The 16-student flag corps will mix with the 250 instrumentalists, Walker said.

"It's intense; it's intimidating," Walker said of the contest. "It's not really a 'We win; you lose' situation. It's about how well we can do."

Cooper's Gowler echoed similar sentiments.

"The rating is not as important" as the band doing its best, he said.

The 345-member band has been playing the cartoon selections for at least a month. Songs include "Pink Panther," "Jonny Quest," "George of the Jungle" and the "Flintstones."

Besides the 25-member flag corps, the Cougarette dance team will march with the band while performing with brightly colored hoops. Features will include the drum line, a brass combination during the "Flintstones" medley and multi-colored boxes "that have a really nice visual effect," Gowler said.

The associate director said though he expects to see mostly first-division ratings for his band, it all depends on the judges.

"Some are more demanding than others," he said.

The performance schedule is as follows:

Bulldog Stadium, Class A:

-- 8:45 a.m. -- Rotan

-- 9 a.m. -- Rochester

-- 9:15 a.m. -- Aspermont

-- 9:30 a.m. -- Cross Plains

-- 9:45 a.m. -- Roby

-- 10 a.m. -- Bronte n 10:15 a.m. -- Robert Lee

-- 10:30 a.m. -- Baird

Bulldog Stadium, Class 2A:

-- 11 a.m. -- Albany

-- 11:15 a.m. -- Tuscola (Jim Ned)

-- 11:30 a.m. -- Roscoe

-- 11:45 a.m. -- Hawley

Noon -- Anson

-- 1 p.m. Coahoma

-- 1:15 p.m. -- Hamlin

-- 1:30 p.m. -- Cisco

-- 1:45 p.m. -- Haskell

-- 2 p.m. -- Stamford

Bulldog Stadium, Class 3A:

-- 2:45 p.m. -- Merkel

--3 p.m. -- Colorado City

-- 3:15 p.m. -- Breckenridge

-- 3:30 p.m. -- Eastland

-- 3:45 p.m. -- Clyde

-- 4 p.m. -- Wylie

Shotwell Stadium, Class 3B:

-- 7 p.m. -- San Angelo Lee Junior High

7:15 p.m. -- San Angelo Glenn Junior High

Shotwell Stadium, Class 4A:

-- 7:30 p.m. -- Sweetwater

-- 7:45 p.m. -- San Angelo Lake View

Shotwell Stadium, Class 5A:

-- 8 p.m. -- San Angelo Central

-- 8:15 p.m. -- Cooper

-- 8:30 p.m. -- Abilene High



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