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Live Streaming Makes Band Contest More Than a ‘Texas Happening”

By Jeanne Acton, Journalism Director | Tuesday, November 20, 2012 10:21 AM

Austin Bowie High School took fourth place at the 5A State Marching Band Contest.

Photo by Jeanne Acton

On Nov. 5 and 6, thousands of high school band students filled the Alamodome with their artistry and musical talent for the 3A and 5A UIL State Marching Band Contest.
And while thousands of parents and fans filled the stadium to watch the performances, more than 3,500 watched from the comfort of their homes and schools.

For the second year in a row the State Marching Band Contest was streamed live over the internet by Mr. Video.

“What the viewers saw was exactly what was on the video wall in the Alamodome and also the content of the DVDs that are produced after the concert,” Music Director Richard Floyd said.

Floyd said the webcast has several benefits. First, it gives parents and members of the communities represented in the competition who could not make the trip to San Antonio the opportunity to view their students in the actual performances. 
“Also, schools that wished to do so could have their band students view the competition and get a sense what being a part of a UIL state competition is all about and see the level of performance that is required to compete at this level,” he said.

The League received reports that middle school band programs used the webcast “to give their students an example of what they had to look forward to in high school,” Floyd said.

“A final benefit is the national and international exposure it provides for the music programs of Texas and the role UIL plays in the educational mission of our state,” he said. “While we don't have a final accounting, we do know that the webcast had ‘hits’ from across the nation.  This was not just a ‘Texas happening.’”

Floyd hopes the live streaming will become a permanent part of the State Marching Band Contest. The cost of the streaming was partially underwritten by Yamaha as an educational service.

This year had another unique happening — not a first, but definitely not common. Two Lewisville ISD bands took first and second place this year – Marcus HS (1st) and Hebron HS (2nd).

“This has happened once before,” Floyd said. “Back in the 1990s Spring High School and Westfield High School from the Spring ISD came in first and second.”
While this occurrence is rare, what is not rare is how “neighboring schools pace one another on the pathway to excellence,” he said.
Floyd said the 3A and 5A bands were extraordinary this year.

“If I had to single out a quality that defined the performance of the top bands it would be artistry and attention to musical detail,” he said. “Many of our bands play at an extremely high level.  In fact, they set the standard for the nation.  However, the level of musicianship demonstrated by the award-winning bands far exceeded the norm for what one expects to see and hear on a football field.”