After placing second in the area last year, Jourdanton entered the 2021 marching season with their sights set on the state.
Since the state marching band contest is held every other year for the 3A division, the Indians had to wait for their opportunity. Jourdanton won the 3A Area E Marching Contest Oct. 23 and advanced to state for the first time since 2009. Since their first practice in July, Jourdanton Band Director David Torch said the students stepped up to the challenge.
“That’s been our main objective from the get-go was to get this group to achieve something like that,” Torch said. “So we’ve been in programs that have been very successful, not just as teachers, but as students. And this is something that we want to hold our kids accountable for, and it’s been a dream come true. We’re trying to get the kids to understand that this has been a big accomplishment for them.”
In their show, Jourdanton played a mix of classical and modern pieces. Classical music in their setlist included “Carnival of the Animals” by French composer Camille Saint- Saëns and a piece by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Also included were more contemporary songs such as “Birds set Free” by Sia, “Mad World” by Gary Jules and “Creep” by Radiohead.
“You have to consider the football crowd is going to have to listen to this every week,” O’Sullivan said. “These kids are going to be playing this music for months. I’m going to be listening to it for months. Also when you go to competitions, these are band directors who have taught for decades. So you have to appease all parties. So that’s why our show had a lot of mixed songs in it.”
Jourdanton finished 18th out of the 25 bands that competed at the state competition on Nov. 3. With the marching season wrapped up, the band is currently transitioning into the next round of competitions. Throughout the next couple of months, band members will be competing in concert contests, jazz band, region band auditions, and solo & ensemble.
Following the success they had throughout the marching season, Jourdanton band members are looking to add on to their accomplishments over the next couple of months according to Torch and O’Sullivan.
“It seems like because we’ve had all this stuff, that a lot more kids have wanted to do things,” Torch said. “Our jazz band sign-up sheet has blown up. Winterguard has blown up, too. It just seems like the kids are trying to push themselves. Now writing it on paper and doing it, like we tell the kids, are two different things and actions speak louder than words.”
Torch and O’Sullivan have begun discussing ideas for the next marching season. Though the state competition is every two years, the UIL has considered moving it to every year and will discuss more at the Texas Music Educators Association Convention in February.