Yoe bands earns sweepstakes awards at UIL contest

Whenever you hear Yoe High Band and competition in the same sentence, all you have to do is look at the trophy case to see what the expectations are surrounding the program.


At last week's UIL concert and sight-reading contest, the longstanding tradition of excellence was upheld as both the junior varsity and varsity level bands captured sweepstakes awards. Both bands received one-division ratings in the concert and sight-reading portions of the contest.


“I couldn't be more proud of the kids,” said director of bands Craig George following the contest. “This is why we work so hard the entire course of the year.”


The band competed in two different UIL events this year. The first came back in the fall when the band received straight ones from the marching band competition at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Now, the band has accomplished its ultimate goal.


“It is great because marching band kind of shows off the physical attributes of our kids and their hard work physically, but the stage performances show what our kids are capable of musically,” said George.


The junior varsity band opened the competition on Wednesday as the first of 27 ensembles to perform. The JV band is directed by Mickey Angel and assisted by Alissa Brown. According to George, the first five weeks of preparation saw the band split into two groups with Angel handling the brass and percussion while Brown coordinated the woodwinds.


“I think I was most proud of our non-varsity group for getting the one up on stage and the one in sight-reading,” said George. “You always look at your younger kids as the future of the program. I am elated with the kids and extremely proud of them.”


The varsity level group performed Thursday and had the same fortunes with impeccable rankings. George himself leads this group. George said that there were many benefits to having two different groups.


“It benefits us because we have so many kids and we have different abilities. This allows us to challenge our better players. Also, we submit the honor band recording based on the varsity group on how they record. It is a higher degree of difficulty as the music is harder and the expectations are incredibly high in that group. We are able to push both groups a little harder. It gives our non-varsity group with kids a little further down the section to be leaders. Those first couple of chairs is something they have not done throughout the year.”


Cameron was the only 3A school to have two bands perform. The likes of China Spring, Gatesville and Robinson had multiple groups at the 4A level.


The bands performance on Thursday was recorded and will be submitted for the prestigious honor band competition. Though the band never actually performs again, the recording is submitted and could advance through the region, area and eventually to the state level. The Yoe Band achieved the honor band award back in 2013. Only one band in each classification can achieve the accolade, thus getting to that point is essentially the same as winning a state championship.


There are a lot of events and festivals to get the best recording,” said George. We chose to do just one recording and then move on to our spring concert. We had a good recording and we will see how it does. Top bands from the region advance to area and then the state level. State level judged in July at the TBA conference. We don't find out to quite some time later.”