Playing my heart out

Senior reflects on how her career with band has impacted her high school experience
Looking to her bandmate, senior Lourdes Quijas performs during half time at a football game. Quijas has been in band since her freshman year.
Looking to her bandmate, senior Lourdes Quijas performs during half time at a football game. Quijas has been in band since her freshman year.
Kristina Colburn
Looking Back

As marching season just ended, I came to reflect on how the Tiger Band affected me since my involvement. 

I have been in percussion since I was in second grade. Before I moved to Texarkana, I was on the drum line and marched in parades all the time. I was pretty well-known in my community.

I moved to Texarkana when I was 11 and started my band experience at Texas Middle School. Back then, I had no friends and had no idea what I was doing until I met some of my best friends, whom I still have today. 

As my band career grew in middle school, my eighth-grade year got cut short due to COVID-19. I didn’t experience Marching Fundamentals Camp, Wednesday music days or even percussion night. 

Once I got into high school, everything changed. We had a summer band in late July but it got cut short due to someone having covid. Even when school started, we couldn’t do anything with the band. Everyone sat six feet apart while still trying to find their friends to talk to. 

SUBMITTED PHOTO BY LOUREDES QUIJAS: Looking ahead, Lourdes Quijas stands in front of her instrument before their half time show during a football game her freshman year.
Freshman Year

Freshman season was really exciting for me. I made new friends, saw old friends and experienced all new things, including a new director. 

The seniors would tell me, “You won’t remember your first run of the show.” They’re right. I have no remembrance of my first-ever run of “Pursuit of Happiness”. 

I didn’t even experience competitions except the one we held: Four States.

The last run was honestly not that bad. I remember having to stop before Movement Three, and we acknowledged all the seniors. Then we played a really good Movement Three; it was so much fun, yet I was a little sad. 

After marching season, I got to do an ensemble, “Overture in Percussion” by A.J. Cirone. Both the solo and ensemble and state competitions were remote, so we had to send in a video of us playing it. 

After hours of rehearsals and constant replays of the ensemble, we unfortunately got a two, but I’m still proud of us. I was also lucky enough to get a patch from the state competition, my first “Big Girl” patch, my mom said. 

SUBMITTED PHOTO BY LOUREDES QUIJAS: Looking ahead, Lourdes Quijas stands in front of her instrument before their half time show during a football game her freshman year.
SUBMITTED PHOTO BY LOUREDES QUIJAS: Mallets in hand, Lourdes Quijas looks down as she plays her instrument during a sophomore year band performance.
Sophomore Year

Sophomore year was probably my best year. We had such an amazing show, everyone’s mindset was different and all of our underclassmen friends were with us again. 

Summer band was pretty rough as it drained my mental health being in the same room, with the same people, every day from eight to five. I went through it. 

I remember struggling with something so easy, yet so hard, that Craig Crawford had to help me out. I remember complaining to him about it, and he told me, “It’s just a pattern; let’s work it out,” and I got it right then and there.

The first run of “The Web” was very rough. During practices, though, we all had fun. 

Our director made it fun. I remember having such good practice, I was groovin’ the entire time, and others joined with me, just having fun.

I had finally got my competition experience, and it was actually really fun. 

Royse City was my favorite competition. Waiting for finals placements, the judges had put on “Sweet Caroline,” and every band kid would stomp really hard to the point that the stands slowly started to dip down.

 It was dangerous yet very fun. We also placed seventh, which I thought was pretty cool.

Championship at the Rock was my least favorite competition for so many reasons and will forever be my least favorite. 

Not only was it really windy, but it was an extremely long competition. 

Going onto the field was rough. Since I was in the pit, we had to pull instruments down the hill. You’re probably wondering, “Why pull?” Because if we pushed, we would’ve fallen over, and Natalie would’ve had to get another knee surgery. 

We had horrible sound system issues, and we got points deducted, but we came in sixth place overall, so it was okay.

The Area competition was not only one of the best competitions I have been to, it was also the saddest. 

We didn’t make Area finals, but it was such a good run that we had to be proud of ourselves for the hard work we did.

The very last run of “The Web” hurt badly. Even though there were only eight people in the front ensemble, we still loved each other so much. 

“The Web” really helped me love band the way I do now, and even though there was drama and a bunch of screaming seniors, I really enjoyed my sophomore year, especially “The Web.”

Once concert season started in the percussion ensemble, my former director, Paul Stivitts gave us a new piece, “Mercury Rising” by Nathan Daughtrey. 

That was one of the most challenging yet favorite ensembles I’ve ever done.

I had one of the lead parts and was lucky enough to not only get a one at Solo and Ensemble, but we also got a one at State and a standing ovation from the other schools. 

At State, there was a “Mercury Rising” that went before us. They played well, but we played better. Not only did we wow the judges, but we wowed the whole auditorium with how amazing we sounded.

That left a great mark on my sophomore year. It was amazing to end the year on a good note.

SUBMITTED PHOTO BY LOUREDES QUIJAS: Mallets in hand, Lourdes Quijas looks down as she plays her instrument during a sophomore year band performance.
Concentration clear on her face, Lourdes Quijas plays the vibraphone in Queen of the night her junior year.
Junior Year

Junior year was rough overall. Losing friends, almost failing and wanting to curl up in a ball and cry. I had a really rough year. 

Having to go to summer band every day really brought my mental health down as well. 

Receiving the music to “Queen of the Night ” was fun, yet I wanted it to be over with. It was worth it in the end, but it was really rough. 

Our first run wasn’t that bad. It was at AT&T Stadium, which was amazing, but unfortunately, we didn’t have the sound for the synth as the wires were left by accident. It wasn’t funny then, but now we laugh at it.

Competition season, though, was pretty good for us.

Our first competition was Royse City, and it was honestly so much fun. Not only did we make finals, but we ranked 10th out of 29 bands. That’s pretty good, especially for our band. 

Champion at the Rock double-booked. Instead, we had the opportunity to try out the “Battle of the Spear” in Winnsboro, Texas. 

It was a very long and hot day, but we placed fourth overall, and the Chick-fil-A for dinner was very rewarding. 

Going into Area, I was nervous. 

Our preliminary run was pretty rough, but it was still good enough for us to go into Finals. It was the first time the band program made it to Finals. 

 That was the best feeling I had all season. 

After an amazing performance, we were lucky enough to place fifth overall and made wonderful school history. 

The last run of “Queen of the Night” was cheated out of us. 

It was an away game to Pine Tree, and we beat them the week before at Area. They came in seventh and we came in fifth. The head band director there said we didn’t need our generator and they had power for us, so we didn’t bring the generator. Bad idea. 

We had no sound from the front ensemble of soloists and it was so embarrassing. But, our football team beat them 16-13, so they got karma.

The first play-off game was very memorable. It was Mass Band Night. We got to play “Party Rock Anthem” and “Thriller” with the middle school.

 It was so much fun playing in the rain with my best friends and my sister. I would do anything to go back to that night.

When it was time for concert season, Stivitts gave us another Nathan Daughtrey piece, “Power Struggle.” 

It was really fun as I had similar parts with Andrew Wommack and had a duet with Hunter Yates. 

It felt great being able to go to State again for the third year in a row and be able to get yet another standing ovation.

 We had another band before us play “Power Struggle” as well and they did really well. 

The judge said we had amazing dynamics and wonderful chemistry and passion for the piece, and he could feel it in our playing. He loved it very much. 

I was worried about how junior year would be finished off, and I’m glad I was able to end it on a great word.

Concentration clear on her face, Lourdes Quijas plays the vibraphone in “Queen of the night” her junior year. (Kelsey Head)
Senior Lourdes Quijas looks forlornly at the vibraphone as she plays her last run of Liquid gold.
Senior Year

This year, so far, is very interesting. Not only do I have a new director, but it has just been very weird. 

Summer band was something I was actually looking forward to. I went from Marimba Three to Vibe Two to Vibe One for “Liquid Gold”.

 My music though was not on its own music sheet, so I had to read off the score. It was actually really fun because I could read everyone else’s part while reading mine, so I knew what to listen for if I didn’t know where I was at. 

I remember I missed a week of summer band since I was in Indianapolis watching DCI Open and world-class shows.

When I came back, I remember I had to quickly work up to Movement Two and finish Movement One. We also got Movement Three before the first run of the show and learned it in two days, which was amazing. 

I remember being so excited about being able to know my music before our first run of the show. It still amazes me. 

Our first run was actually pretty good; it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the best. Yet, I’m still proud of us and our section.

We had pretty bad fights throughout the season that caused us to get mad at each other, but it was still a great section.

During competition season, it was rough but really good for us.

Royse City was rough. We didn’t make it to finals, but that only had our band work even harder to place great at the following competition.

Instead of Winnsboro, we went to a US Bands competition in Bossier City, LA. 

For me and a few others, it was a hometown performance, since some of us are from the Shreveport and Bossier City area. 

We placed second for Group Three during the preliminaries and then second overall. We made amazing history for our school and our band program. That second place made us work even harder for Area.

The Area competition meant everything to us.

We were lucky to be able to go to finals again for the second year in a row, which made even more history for us.

At Area, we placed ninth overall which is not bad, but it was a great ending to the marching season. 

I remember getting off the field with such pride and joy and yelling about how amazing we did. 

Nov. 3 was our senior night. Walking on the field with my parents felt amazing. They were very proud of how much I accomplished during my four years in band as the first daughter on both sides. 

As it was time for the last run of “Liquid Gold”, I looked at Crow Dodson, synth one player, and told them, “Last time, best time.” I played my heart out. 

At the end of the run, I lost it. Sobbing, I couldn’t bring myself to unplug and roll off the field. 

Jessie Garren and Natalie Taylor unplugged my instrument from theirs, and my sister took my vibe. 

I remember going to my mom crying and telling her I didn’t want to get off. After having a moment with her, I went to Mrs. Lawson and hugged her. She told me, “You did so great, I’m so proud of you.” I love that woman. She’s amazing.

I was crying so much that my boyfriend, Cayden “C.J.” Jordan, had to walk me off the field and hug me when we got off. I had cried off all my charcoal and it was on his shirt. I felt so bad for messing his shirt up to the point I started crying more. 

I went to my dad after spending a few moments with C.J. and continued to cry. Mr. Bennett took a picture of me crying while I was with my dad and honestly, I think it was a sweet moment to see my emotions and how my last marching season has affected me so much. 

What really made me sad was Mr. Nard telling me to come sign-off. So I went to the Go-Pro and said, “This is senior Lourdes Quijas, lead vibe, signing off” and cried even more. 

After signing off, I went to Crow and just held them as we both cried. Crow has been my buddy since they moved to our section. They were on Rack with me freshman year and always has been with me since then. Crow and I’s friendship has always been my favorite and even though we get mad at each other, I still love them very much.

Going back up in the stands and playing “Tuba Song” was very fun because I was getting all of my emotions out and just reminiscing about my time with the band. 

Senior Lourdes Quijas looks forlornly at the vibraphone as she plays her last run of “Liquid gold.” (Anna Bell Lee)

Now that I am in my last concert season, I can say that the band has given me many friends, musical talents and much more. 

I love the band a lot and having my directors teach us how to be leaders, yet be ourselves, is the one thing I will forever remember. I will always be grateful for band because it has shown me professionalism, sadness, happiness and many good moments. 

I am, and always will be, a part of the Tiger band.

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About the Contributors
Lourdes Quijas
Lourdes Quijas, Staff Writer
Lourdes Quijas is returning for her third and final year in publications with Tiger Times. Outside of newspaper, she is the lead vibraphone player in the Tiger Band and practices every day to make sure she’s the best player she can be. Quijas is the Vice President of Tri-M Music Honor Society. She is known to be a very friendly person and is always smiling or laughing. She loves socializing with anyone and everyone and is ready to have a great senior year!  
Kristina Colburn
Kristina Colburn, Assignments Editor

Kristina Colburn is currently the Photo Assignments Editor for THS Publications. She is also a member of National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Key Club, AP Ambassadors, HOSA, Model UN and the Multicultural Club. In her spare time, Kristina likes to relax and listen to music, shop online, thrift and occasionally pick up a book. In addition, she likes to travel. She has been to France and Spain, and is hoping she can travel more in the upcoming years. In the future, Kristina aims to major in Criminal Justice at the University of North Texas or Anthropology at Baylor University.

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