Days after bus crash, Seagraves Band advances to Area competition
SEAGRAVES, Texas (KCBD) - For the Seagraves Eagles “Pride of the Plains” Marching Band, a chance to compete for the UIL State Marching Band competition appeared out of sight, after an October 15 bus crash (one mile north of Brownfield on US Highway 62/82) left some students and the band director sidelined with moderate injuries.
Last week, Matt Knight, Abernathy HS band director, reached out to other music officials in the area with the idea of bringing judges- from Abilene, Big Spring, and Iowa Park, to Eagle Field- where the band could march in a Regional competition, where a highly-coveted “Division One” could send them to the Area Round. Keith Bearden, executive secretary for UIL’s Region 16, obliged.
“You had a bus accident on the way to contest a couple of weeks ago, they were unable to perform that day. And, since this is a qualifying year to advance to State,” Bearden says. “And the Area contest is this upcoming week, we wanted them to have that opportunity to have that chance to compete.”
Bearden was also the long-time director for the “Goin’ Band from Raiderland.”
With perfect sun and 50-degree weather, the students finally took the field, marching to a program titled “A Gathering of Knights.” Even some Medieval props were used. Joining students from all of the other Seagraves ISD schools were band members from surrounding communities, including Loop and Morton. For drum major Destiny Barrera, who is also the band’s bass guitarist, the home-field advantage made the experience even more bizarre.
“It’s more terrifying doing it on our own field than it is at any other field that we’ve ever performed on,” she said- especially since friends and family were there in attendance.
For her, and fellow drum major Brytnie Beltran, the experience brought the band members closer than ever before.
“The crash really brought us together,” Destiny says. “It kind of sealed all those like cracks, and it made us closer as a group... and as a family.”
To go with any traditional marching band competition is the occasional tension of waiting for results. Tuesday’s contest was no exception. Once the announcer claimed a “One,” cheers and tears reverberated from the Eagle Field track all through the bleachers.
“This one’s like a little bit sweeter because my kids could have just said, You know what, let’s not do it,” said George Rangel, Seagraves HS band director. “We’re kind of behind the ball. Everyone else has had about a week and a half to prepare, we’ve got about four days... but they’ll step up!
The Seagraves band returns to competition at 10 a.m. Saturday at Lowrey Field. Other AA bands from the area include Farwell, Floydada, Hale Center, Lockney, Morton, New Deal, Olton, Plains, Post, Ralls, Ropes, Smyer, Sudan, Sundown, and Tahoka.
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