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Marble Falls graduate directs Whitesboro High School band to state marching title


SAN ANTONIO — When the Whitesboro High School marching band earned a first-place finish at the area competition, director Jim Cude started to believe the group was on beat to something bigger.

“We had set the goal of getting to state, but, the way we performed at the area contest, I started thinking we had a chance to win state,” Cude said.

On Nov. 4, Cude and the Whitesboro band won the University Interscholastic League 2A State Marching Band Contest championship at the Alamodome. While the trip to San Antonio started in Whitesboro, Cude’s journey to the title actually began in Marble Falls.

Cude graduated from Marble Falls High School in 1982 after performing in the Mustangs marching band. He first began considering a career as a band director while attending Marble Falls Middle School.

“Even in middle school, it looked like a really cool gig,” Cude said. Cude played the tuba but later added the trombone to the mix.

After 27 years in education — the past 12 at Whitesboro — Cude still loves what he does.

“Being around kids keeps you young,” he said.

The marching contest was a family affair for Cude. His wife, Linda Bunnell Cude, serves as the color guard director for the Whitesboro band and their son, Caleb, plays trombone.

Linda Bunnell Cude graduated from Marble Falls High School in 1983.

“But this is really about the kids,” Jim Cude said. “They worked really, really hard.”

This is the fourth time Cude has guided the Whitesboro band to the state competition, the last being in 2006. The highest the band previously finished was sixth. Along with finishing first in state this year, the band also was the top competitor in both area and state preliminaries.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do in the next competition after finishing first in the last three,” he said with a laugh.

On the way from Whitesboro to San Antonio, Cude — whose mother, Mary, still lives in Marble Falls — stopped by his hometown Nov. 3. But it wasn’t to eat at the Blue Bonnet Café or enjoy some shopping. He ushered the 87 Whitesboro High School marching band members into Mustang Stadium and had them get in one more practice before the state competition.