North Garland Band Goes to Region

Isabella Castillo, Reporter

For the first three to four months of school, the marching band is in session. Composed of long after-school rehearsals and lots of big competitions, many people think that once the marching season ends the biggest part of the band’s duties are over. But, in reality, they’re only getting started. Soon enough, it’s time for Region band auditions to begin. 

Junior Ivan Garcia practices his etude cuts.

“Region is a competition where students from multiple high schools compete for placement in one of the four Regional bands,” said Ivan Garcia, a clarinet player. “There are two phases. You go to play on one day and if you advance to phase two, then you go in and play on another day. If you advance past this phase then you are placed in one of the bands.”  

At North Garland, the top two bands, Wind Ensemble and Symphony are required to compete. For members of these bands, hours and hours of preparation go into getting ready for the Region band. “Starting [at the beginning of] marching season you receive your music and you start practicing,” Garcia said. “Once Region starts approaching, you feel really well prepared and after about four months of practicing [you] are ready to play and are adding final touches. It takes a while because the music is really hard, getting it up to tempo and adding dynamics and expression. A lot of people take private lessons just for that, so they can get a good placement in a good band.” 

The directors also take up the responsibility of helping students prepare by creating assignments for them that require them to learn certain parts of the etudes per week.

“We set out weekly goals for [the students] to learn the music that way [they’re] not learning the entire thing with no time,” said Antuon Lopez, Assistant Director. “So, we give [them] chunk A, chunk B, chunk C, just like Region, and the project includes just getting a structure and becoming goal-oriented.”

Junior Ana Hinojosa practices her etudes.

Ana Hinojosa, a flute player in the top band sees the process of preparing and competing at Region as really exciting. 

“We get to receive the piece of music months before and then you go play for your audition,” Hinojosa said. 

This year, the Regional competition took place at Sachse High School. Phase one took place Dec. 4 and phase two on Dec. 6. Students are given a time and location within the school to report to in order to audition. Once they enter the room, the audition begins. 

Ana Hinojosa attended both phases of the competition. 

“We all receive a number, sit down, and when your number gets called, you go to the chair and when you’re behind that number you’re in another chair,” Hinojosa said. “Then, you play your cut, which is a part of the music, and let’s say first you play etude one, then when you’re done playing you go and sit down [and] wait till everyone is done. Then you go back up and play etude two, and this goes on for three rounds. Then at the end, you get your results.” 

Auditioning for a Region band is an extremely competitive event, and can cause lots of stress for the musicians and the staff. However, many band students try to keep a positive attitude and outlook on the event. 

Junior Cristina Perez practices her region auditions.

Piccolo player Christina Perez has been competing in Region for three years and says she still gets nervous seeing all the people and hearing them play their parts, but, at the same time excited because she gets to hear other people play.

This year, the North Garland Raider band had 31 of the 39 musicians that advanced to phase two, make it into a Regional band. These numbers are higher than anything the band has achieved in the past four years. But, the directors are not done pushing the limits of what they can achieve. 

 “I feel content but not satisfied,” Lopez said. “And that’s just my personality. I’m happy and proud of them but we should always be pushing to get better. As a musician, you’ll always find something you can do better, and it’s the same for us as teachers. It was great, but now we gotta get better.”