Band wins Yamaha Cup
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“Drum major, is your band ready?”
Dut-dut-dut-dut resonated on the field as the drum major started to conduct. The gray plumes began to sway in the wind.
These students were ready to show that stadium who the Judson band really was.
On Saturday October 15, the band competed against 32 bands at the USBands Yamaha Cup and placed first in finals for the first time ever in the history of the program.
“I was sitting with my friends in the stands waiting to hear the results and the announcer started with 14th place,” senior flute soloist Paula Wilson said. “When he kept going through the awards and Judson wasn’t called yet, I grew more and more excited. When they announced second place and we still weren’t announced, I was in shock. The moment they announced us as champions, I felt so proud to be apart of the Judson band.”
USBands was formed in the fall of 1988. The Yamaha Cup, one of its four major programs, is one of the largest competitive Marching Band circuits in the nation, supporting music educators’ efforts to teach the life lessons of hard work, determination and teamwork to their students while also delivering an educational experience in the marching arts.
For many students, it is exciting to meet other passionate students, face other bands on the field and see their experience in band in a different way.
“I remember freshman year Yamaha cup so vividly because it was one of the best experiences I had at a competition,” senior drum major “Hunter” Garcia said. “This being my senior year I wanted it to be better and I wanted to win. But once you get on that field and once you see everyone you love performing, winning or losing doesn’t seem to matter as much as the people you’re performing with.”
This year’s show has an Arabian theme, taking the audience on journey through the Sahara desert and encountering the most magical thing, a Mirage.
Having no regrets is one of the band’s motto, motivating them to always give 100% in this year’s show.
“I like how simple our show is,” sophomore Tejas Fruean said. “There’s not much to it. The work ethic that we have is amazing and we don’t have to be loud and obnoxious. We’re going somewhere with simplicity.”
During the preliminary performance, despite that two props on the field fell, the band persevered and placed first in group five with the score of 91.738 with the caption awards Best Overall Effect and Best Visual.
“I knew we would do great and that nothing would go wrong, all that was left was to let the crowd know that,” Garcia said.
Barely beating James Madison’s score of 92.300, the band finished first in finals with the score of 92.400, also winning Best Music.
“When walking onto the field for finals, I felt a sense of extreme calmness. I felt as if it were any other run from our weekly rehearsals. I did what I knew best, and that was to be consistent,” junior Ricardo Villa said. “Consistency has been my personal goal since I joined the Judson Rocket Band.”
One of the biggest difference between this year’s Yamaha Cup and the ones from the past was the support between districts.
Despite beating Wagner in Hammer Bowl, our sister school, who placed fifth in finals, integrated with the Judson band and they congratulated each other on their hard work and took a group photo.
“Four years ago, we wouldn’t have said a word to Wagner, but when the announced us the champion, Wagner erupted in cheer. They were so happy for our success and even did the Judson hand sign in one hand and the Wagner sign in the other.” Wilson said. “It was an amazing moment, where we set aside our differences and came together. It felt even better than winning the competition.”
Since August, the band has persevered through heat and sweat and now their hard work is showing on the field. The band’s next competition is the UIL Region 11 Marching Contest on October 22 at DW Rutledge Stadium.