Band’s Carousel program achieves unprecedented accomplishment in St. Louis

Manasa Mohan, Advertising and Circulation Manager

On Oct. 23, members of the Coppell marching band were on the edge of their seats as they anxiously awaited their results at the Bands of America St. Louis Super Regional competition. 

When the announcer announced that Coppell placed third in the finals, the roaring from the band members was overwhelming, as they realized they scored the highest score Coppell has ever received. 

“It’s a really good feeling, not just the fact that we placed third, but watching the students celebrate that and having that be celebrated amongst themselves because that’s not necessarily something that’s happened here before,” CHS associate band director Riaz Mohammed said. “Walking into a new program it’s really hard to gauge where you will end up at contests, but the thing that we push for here the most is let’s do what we do and make sure we’re successful at it. Watching [the band’s] reaction on how they received that third placement is really rewarding as an educator.”

The Coppell Marching Band traveled to the Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis to compete at the BOA Super Regional competition. Coppell placed second in the preliminaries in the 4A class and finished third overall out of 34 schools from 12 states with a score of 88.875. 

In addition to scoring the highest ever in the finals, Coppell also made history in the preliminaries as the highest rank in preliminaries the program has ever achieved. Coppell also took the spot for the highest rank for a Texas school at this competition. However, these feats were not without obstacles along the way. During the finals, the band experienced technical difficulties with electronics cutting out and microphones failing to work, something that had not occurred in the preliminaries. 

At the beginning of the show, the band conducted a microphone check where it was discovered that they were not functioning properly. The time limit required the band to reach the stage before the problem could be resolved, so the band was rushed to get into its starting positions. 

“It was definitely disappointing,” CHS junior clarinet section leader Mehak Arora said. “At that moment, our preparation for the solo and the duet wasn’t being heard as well as it could have been. We did our best to project our sound as best as we could without our [microphones] and did what we could with what we had.”

Last year, students did not compete at BOA, making this the first year for freshman and sophomore members of the band to compete in BOA and the first year competing for juniors who weren’t on varsity marching band in their freshman year. 

For about 18 months, we did band online and it’s hard to do band online,” CHS Principal Laura Springer said. “So to see that first production of them all coming back together on the field in person, it was so emotional for them and for us. The grit to get through times that were really tough and you think we’re not really ever playing as a full band together at the same time and to come back and hit the ground running and knowing because of that lag of time we had, you’re going to have to work even harder to put it together.”

On Friday, the band travels to San Antonio to compete at the Bands of America Super Regional competition in San Antonio and for the University Interscholastic League state competition. The marching band will compete against 72 bands in the preliminaries and 14 bands will advance to the finals.

“Because it’s my fourth year [as JV band director], the seniors were technically my first freshman class,” CHS9 JV band director Kate Klontz said. “To see them take on that leadership of being the senior class and placing at a new record and level for them is a testimony as to why we do what we do. Not so much to beat the records and to be the best, but to see them walk away from a performance, completely love what they do and be invested in the show makes it all the more memorable and special because they’ve stuck with the program and they’ve really invested their time and efforts to get there.”

The band began preparing for Carousel at the beginning of August with two and a half hour rehearsals, three times a week. When the competition neared, rehearsals were extended to three and a half hours for the past two weeks. As the band prepares for the San Antonio competition, its rehearsals focus more on refining the routine and making sure that everyone is in set. 

“Placing third at St. Louis shows the other bands and other directors that we are a big deal and we know how to play and march,” CHS senior band vice president Sahan Yerram said. “I think this will give us not only the recognition, but also it gives us as a band the motivation we need to make that final and push into San Antonio and make sure that we’re all hands on deck and put in 100% effort as we perform for the last time in San Antonio.”

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