DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE EDITOR
MARBLE FALLS — For the first time anyone can remember, the Marble Falls High School Marching Band and the Starlettes teamed up for a University Interscholastic League marching contest, and, by all accounts, it was a great decision.
The band and the Starlettes earned superior ratings from all three judges during the UIL 4A Region 26 Marching Contest on Oct. 19 at the Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex in Round Rock. The group now advances to the UIL 4A Area D Marching Contest on Oct. 26 at Gupton Stadium in Cedar Park.
“It’s quite an accomplishment for us, advancing to area. Teaming up went as well as I thought it would,” band director Brad Behrens said. “The kids have worked extremely hard this year. And they’ve done anything we’ve asked them.”
Starlettes director Cristi Gilpin agreed.
“Everything has come together so well,” she said. “If we made changes, maybe, ‘Hey let’s do an eight count here,’ they just went and did it. It doesn’t matter what we asked or changed, they just went with it.”
The band and dance squad performed their routine Paradox at the marching contest. The routine features a battle of good vs. evil on the field as the varsity Starlettes take up the role of the good and fend off evil, portrayed by the the high school’s color guard and the junior varsity Starlettes.
All through it, the marching band performs the selected music.
During the contest, the three judges rated the competing units based on musical performance and marching. Earning three superiors is quite an accomplishment, considering the number of individuals on the field who must work as a cohesive unit.
Behrens pointed out much of the success on the field comes down not just to practicing but how students practice.
“We push them every time we not only perform but every time we rehearse,” he said. “They realize that to make it better every time we’re out there, each one of them has to work at it.”
The addition of the Starlettes definitely boosts the unit’s presence on the field. But it also meant more work for the drill team, including getting a week’s jump on rehearsals this summer. The additional time, both before school started and since, didn’t phase the Starlettes.
“I think the students have grown quite a bit since July,” Gilpin said. “This has added more time on top of all the other things we do, but the girls are really great about it.”
The idea of bringing the Starlettes on board for the marching contest routine isn’t new. Behrens joked he’s been pestering Gilpin for years about doing it.
“I guess I thought, ‘This is my 10th year, so let’s do something fun,'” she said with a laugh. “And it’s been great.”
The band and the Starlettes perform at 5:15 p.m. at Gupton Stadium, 200 Gupton Way in Cedar Park (across the street from Cedar Park Vista Ridge High School).
This time, instead of three judges, five will be grading the bands on music and marching.
The Mustangs band and dance team must earn good marks to advance to the finals later that night. Then, the top five will advance to the UIL 4A State Marching Band Contest on Nov. 4-5 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.