Lost and Found: Ranger Band Find Themselves Area Champions, Headed to State

Brooke Abramson, Reporter

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The Ranger Band was awarded Area Champion Saturday for the second time in school history and is now headed to the UIL State Marching Band contest in San Antonio on Monday, with finals Tuesday.  Before UIL, the band is going to be compete in the Band of America San Antonio (BOA) competition this Saturday and Sunday.

“We were really excited,” sophomore Lanna Nguyen said of the band’s success at area. “Everyone was elated. We felt rewarded and really motivated to push through till the end. We were grateful to everyone who has helped us along the way.”

Rehearsals until 7 p.m., a competition nearly every weekend, coming to school before dawn for a bus trip and all on top of football games each Friday, band members endure a demanding schedule for nearly four months during marching season.

“We are putting in every second of our time to get everything done,” sophomore Maddie Jablon said. “We’re making sure that we’re putting in our best work, so that we’re not wasting any time because wasted time will definitely make us regret a bad performance in the end.”

The theme of this year’s band show is “Lost and Found.” For many members of the marching band, the program itself has become a place to find themselves. Jablon finds a way to apply the idea of “Lost and Found” to her own life.

“Coming into high school, I remember having a kind of hard time adjusting to classes and the setting and all the times and everything, so then in the end of the show, we play ‘Amazing Grace,’ like ‘I’m found, I know who I am,’” she said. “So being a sophomore and having a couple years at school, I think I’ve been able to understand high school, and I’m enjoying it.”

From freshman to senior, all members of the band are in different places in their high school band journey. For senior Gray Beasley, his is culminating with a solo performance in this year’s show. Beasley’s responsibilities include making sure he keeps in tune and time with the rest of the band.

“I’m also in charge of just embodying what the Vista Ridge band is about,” he said. “All eyes are gonna be on me so I need to make sure that I’m representing the program well.”

Before the area competition, the band competed in BOA Austin, where they scored fourth overall. Beasley explained that for BOA, there’s 20 or 30 bands, and they all compete against each other in the preliminary competition. From there, the 10 bands with the highest scores advance to finals and then receive a score from the judges to determine which band scores the highest.

Those who have gone to a varsity football game this season saw the band’s halftime performance, but their full competition show lasts longer than time allotted for it in between halves.

“There’s a lot more work and time involved in the show than the eight minutes that you see,” Jablon said.

Besides the music and marching formations of the show, aspects such as the color guard and props crew also factor into marching season.

“I don’t play in the show; I just do props, but it’s fun to help with the color guard and because the props are one of the bigger pieces in the show- it’s not just the music,” sophomore Abigail Malone said. “I feel like even though I don’t play, I’m still an important part to the band.”

Like props crew, there are many other areas of the band in which members don’t play instruments, but still play a crucial role. One of these is color guard, and it comes with its own challenges and rewards.

“I’d say the hardest part about color guard is keeping determination,” sophomore Eddie Lowery said. “Keeping determination when a whole bunch of things were against you, when nature’s against you, when it’s raining outside, when it’s freezing, especially when it’s windy.”

For Lowery, that determination was a key part of how he discovered his passion for color guard. He wasn’t able to march in the band show last year, but still found the good in the situation. Lowery was offered the opportunity to do part-time performances with the color guard and, through this, was introduced to winterguard.

“Winterguard was the thing that came after marching season where color guard could keep practicing and keep performing. I did that for a season and that’s where I really fell in love with the program,” he said.

For the audience, “Lost and Found,” is a concept that can be interpreted many ways.

“[‘Lost and Found’] could be an item that’s lost physically, or you lost spiritually, mentally, or just physically being somewhere that you’re not familiar with,” Lowery said. “For me, the show means finding myself.”

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