CHS band qualifies for state competition

2016-17 show upholds tradition of excellence


Hannah Tucker

Coppell High School color guard director Matthew Rummel speaks with the color guard at Buddy Echols Field after their practice on Saturday. The band had a send off performance Saturday night before their departure for state in San Antonio.

You snap to attention, back straight, eyes affixed slightly above the person in front of you, and instrument held neatly, now a reflex from months of preparation. It is 6:30 p.m. and unlike most high schoolers, you are not sitting at home doing homework; you are on the field practicing, perfecting a marching show.

This is the daily routine, a routine of persistence, dedication and excellence that each member of the marching band executes.

The hard work paid off as the the Coppell High School band qualified for the UIL State Marching Competition, following a 13-year tradition.

“There is a strong desire among members to the program to make sure we continue to reach [the level of state],” said band director Gerry Miller, who is in his first year at CHS.

In the upcoming week, the CHS band and color guard will head to the Alamodome in San Antonio to perform against 250 other Class 6A schools, about the top 10 percent of all band programs from across Texas. There is a preliminary round that qualifies less than the top five percent of all bands for a finals round.

“[When we qualified] I was really happy because we put in so much time and effort,” CHS senior flutist Anna Chon said. “I enjoy performing with my friends, because we’ve been together for four years. [At state] I hope to makes finals and place in the top five bands.” 

Band UIL is one of the few activities that only occurs biannually as opposed to sports UIL events that occur annually.

“That raises the stakes, because the most you can ever go [to state] is twice in your high school career,” Miller said.

This is the last chance for not only the seniors but also the juniors in the program to experience a state competition. Miller said members need to do more work than previous years to keep up with all the changes, because this has been a year of transition.

“[The band is] in a really good place,” Miller said. “We have continued to grow. If you look at our trajectory going back from where we started this season to where we are now, our progress has been exponential.” 

If you look at our trajectory going back from where we started this season to where we are now, our progress has been exponential”

— CHS band director Gerry Miller

The effort is not one made by any single person. The directors, private lesson teachers, drum majors, student leadership, color guard, choir and even parent volunteers play unique roles in the success.

Although the band experienced a disappointment at an earlier competition, Bands of America regionals, this did not affect their morale.

“Not doing well at BOA really gave the band an incentive to work even harder this year and to push through any difficulties,” sophomore trumpet Ashby Pokluda said.

The band performed at various competitions such as the Plano East marching invitational where they took a second place finish and the area competition on Oct. 29 which qualified them for state .

“I’m excited about state. I like all of the things about this year’s show, especially the music and choreography,” sophomore clarinet Mahita Maddukuri said.

Ultimately, the band has already exceeded expectations and created an amazing show. State is just the homestretch for this hardworking group.

“As a band we are really prepared. At this point we have practiced enough,” Pokluda said. “We just need to relax and march.”