Marching into ‘Bandtober’

Tiger Band starts off marching season with Four-States Marching Contest


Photo by Sydney Rowe

Senior Park Johnson prepares for his solo atop the spider props designed for the program “The Web.”

Story by Phoebe Neff, Editor-in-Chief

And so it begins: “Bandtober,” the famous nickname for marching season’s primary month of action. Every Friday has a football game, and every Saturday has a competition. To kick off Bandtober, Texas High hosted its own marching contest for many schools in the surrounding areas.

On Saturday, Oct. 2, the Tiger Band hosted the annual Four-States Marching Contest in Tiger Stadium at Grim Park. A total of 12 bands competed. Since they were the hosts, Texas High did not compete, but they performed an exhibition of their show “The Web.” The finalists included Redwater, Pine Tree, Pleasant Grove, Arkansas High, Quitman and Prairieland. Redwater came in third, Pine Tree in second and Pleasant Grove achieved first with their show “Romanov.”

“We’ve got a crowd here of a couple of thousand people. We’ve had 13 bands go through, everybody gets to share everybody’s success and be entertained by each other,” Head Band Director Arnie Lawson said. “It’s been a great, total difference from last year.”

Being the Head Band Director, Lawson was on the sideline during the show. Nonetheless, he felt that the energy and hard work the band was putting into the performance was evident even from his limited perspective.

“It’s hard for me to [tell how the band did] because I’m down on the field, and I can only see and hear what’s right in front of me,” Lawson said. “I think the energy was really good, but I’ll just have to look at the video to know exactly, but I think it felt really good to me.”

The band performed once at 11 a.m. for family and Band Booster volunteers and again at 4 p.m. for the whole crowd that had grown over the day. Despite not actually competing, many members of the band still felt great pride in their exhibition performances.

“I think we did pretty good; it was our best run yet,” senior trumpeter Rhyann Wilson said. “Of course we still have a lot to work on. It’s not entirely perfect, but we’re definitely getting better each time.”

For many, 2021 has presented itself as a relief to all of the restrictions and stress of 2020, and the shift in procedures has been welcome in the marching band world, since it thrives on crowds and large groups working together.

“Last year was COVID. We did [Four-States]. We had the contest, but it was very, very different,” Lawson said. “There was no community to it. There was no crowd [supporting] it, it was just very sterile and kind of going through what we had to do.”

To the band members, being supported by such a large group of people is something very special and important.

“[Four-States] has been great, actually — all of the performances and all of the people,” freshman flautist Itzel Hernandez said. “My favorite thing about today is the crowd and the band directors being super supportive.”