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Marcus band peaks at right time
The accomplishment made by the Marcus High School band Tuesday still has band director Amanda Drinkwater searching for the right words.
Marcus won its record fourth straight championship at the UIL Class 5A State Marching Band Contest at the AlamoDome in San Antonio.
Marcus won the competition, which takes place every other year, in 2006, 2008 and 2010. It qualified for state in 2004.
Hebron placed second Tuesday, and Hurst L.D. Bell placed third. With Hebron's finish, Lewisville ISD becomes the second district to have two schools in the top two. Spring ISD did it in 1992, 1994 and 1998.
While Drinkwater is aware of the unprecedented accomplishment of winning a state title four times in a row, she said the focus was never on the record books.
"This accomplishment was this year's group," Drinkwater said. "It has nothing to do with history. That was never something we set out to do. More than half of the students weren't here two years ago, and none of them were here four or six years ago."
Instead, Drinkwater said, Tuesday night was about Marcus' performance being the best when it counted most.
"You can only hope that the convergence of 300 teenagers will come together at the right time," Drinkwater said. "The vast majority of the students said that this was the best performance of the year, and that's not always the case. Sometimes the rehearsal in the parking lot sounds better because you're more relaxed.
It was a very emotional performance," Drinkwater said. "Every segment they performed, I would say, 'That's the best they've ever been.' Then in the next segment, I would say, 'And that's the best they've ever been.'"
Senior Abigail Gregory, assistant drum major, said, "Our goal is to engage the audience. It's not about competitive results but more about inspiring."
Band members said they simply saved the best for last.
"We always say that each performance is better than the last one," said senior Zach Kohn, woodwind captain. "And we did that Tuesday. The last one was our best. The seniors have been looking forward to this for a long time, and we all came together at the right time."
Marcus performed "Gilded Melodies," which featured a collection of pieces composed by Johann Sebastian Bach from the 1700s.
"We had a phenomenal performance," said junior Dadgi Lee, assistant drum major. "Everyone put it all out there, and we're very proud of it."
Marcus qualified for the event by taking first place in the area finals, in which the top five advance. Marcus also placed first in the area preliminaries. The band reached the final 10 Tuesday after its morning performance.
And then, it had just one more performance.
"We feel like it's more special when you get the adrenaline," said junior Amanda Wang, assistant drum major. "We knew the whole season had led up to this. We just stayed focused and did our best, and that attitude helped us."
Senior Cody Rome, brass captain, said, "It was more about us knowing that this was our last performance. We knew there was no way to improve it afterward, so we just wanted to show everyone what we had been working on."
The other bands that reached the finals were Richardson Berkner, Coppell and Austin Bowie, as well as Claudia Taylor Johnson, The Woodlands, Ronald Regan and Austin Westlake.
Tuesday was just the last of a series of emotional moments for the band that week. Marcus also won first place in the Bands of America Super Regionals, which took place Saturday in San Antonio. There were 61 bands at that event.
Thursday, the percussion students won the marching division at the The Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) in Austin. Immediately afterward, they loaded the bus to join the rest of the band to practice for Saturday and Tuesday.
And the rest is history.
"We put together what we hope is a good show," Drinkwater said. "We develope young musical talent and then hope for the best."