Why not us

Band competes at state and super regional competitions

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photo credit: Principal Tiffany Doolan

In that field of marigolds \\ Playing the final notes of their show, the Pride of the East performs at the Bands of American Super Regionals competition Nov. 6. “Going into the BOA Super Regional, our main goal was to just have the best run that we could possibly have since it was our last,” Band President Tailene Morales said. The golden guard flags, orange sleeves, and back screens display a bright array of marigolds to represent the last song of their show “Marigolds” by Kishi Bashi.

writer: Gloria Olajimi, Staff Reporter

Two years ago, their legendary show Massive drew all eyes from across the state. A rising underdog, the young competitive group had faith in their ability to achieve great heights. Why couldn’t they be one of the top competitors? According to band president Tailene Morales, this question gave birth to a confidence that would lead the Pride of the East band to success. 

“The phrase ‘why not us’ has been a reminder for the band all season that we are just as capable of achieving greatness as any other organization that we compete against. Although we are a young group in comparison to some other high schools, we have made strides in the past few years, and this phrase was a reminder to have faith in ourselves,” Morales said. 

It was, in my opinion, the best I’ve ever seen our band perform. That performance was special.”

— Kaelyn Cash, senior

For their last year as a 5A band, the Pride of the East went out with a bang as they performed their show Efflorescence at the UIL State championships Nov. 1 and at the Bands of America Super Regionals competition Nov. 6. 

After placing second in the area competition and advancing to state, the band prepared for a busy week. They first headed to San Antonio to compete at the UIL State competition. The day before the competition, the band had a banquet at the Big Red Barn for the juniors, such as band vice president Abel Dereje, who missed their ring ceremony due to the competition. 

I think it was a very good opportunity to celebrate the juniors and all of their achievements and set them up for their senior year,” Dereje said.

The day of the competition, the Pride of the East headed to the Alamodome, a 64,000 seated indoor stadium. The contest was stacked with competitive 5A bands from across the state. Despite the pressure of playing among the best bands in the state, they put down a performance senior drum major Kaelyn Cash applauds them for. 

“It was, in my opinion, the best I’ve ever seen our band perform. That performance was special,” Cash said.

The Pride of the East was short two spots from making finals with a rank of 14th place. There has been heated controversy over the state results among the schools who are arguing that the new judging sheets they adopted this year were unfair. Many districts have challenged the results, including Wylie ISD.

“If you put our scores from this year into last year’s score sheet, we would’ve placed eighth out of the twelve finals spots,” sophomore Bryce White said. 

Even though they fell short in making finals, the band continued their stay in San Antonio, preparing for their upcoming Super Regional competition, also in San Antonio. 

“Although they were not what we expected or hoped, I believe the results gave us a bigger drive to do well at Super Regionals,” Cash said. 

But even with an important competition coming up, the band staff decided their students deserved a treat. After a morning rehearsal, the students were rewarded with a visit to the mall, watching the remaining bands perform for finals, and finishing the day at the Quarry Market, an open-air complex filled with a number of shops, restaurants and theatres. They returned to Wylie the following day with a warm welcome from their parents. 

“In band, we spend a lot of time together, but it’s mostly at rehearsals where you don’t get a chance to talk and get to know everyone. At the Quarry, I got to know the people in my section better and became closer friends with them,” sophomore Arle Casillas said. 

The band went back to San Antonio for super regionals Nov. 6, an even more significant competition than state. They competed against marching bands, 1A through 6A schools, from all across Texas. Among all 72 bands, the band ranked 26. 

“Once we found out that we placed 26 out of 72 bands, I was blown away considering we were competing against 6A bands. I was so proud of our band, and our results gave me a lot of hope for the band’s future competing in 6A starting next year,” Morales said. 

Now that their 2021-2022 marching season has come to an end, the Pride of the East looks forward to competing with 6A schools as Wylie East transitions into a 6A school. 

The band staff is already planning and developing next year’s show. After our fantastic finish in the San Antonio Super Regional BOA contest where we were significantly ahead of many 6A State qualifying bands, we expect to have a strong opportunity to qualify and advance to the 6A State Contest in 2022,” band director Gregory Hayes said.