Burnet High School's Esprit de Corps heads to the University Interscholastic League Area D Marching Contest on Saturday, Dec. 5, at Hays Consolidated Independent School District stadium, 4800 Jack C. Hays Trail in Buda. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Luedecke Photography
Amid one of the craziest — and longest — marching seasons, members of the Burnet High School Esprit de Corps have demonstrated perseverance, commitment, and hard work on their journey, which continues Saturday, Dec. 5, at the University Interscholastic League Area D marching contest in Buda.
“I think they are feeling very prepared,” band director Andrew Hicks said of the students. The Esprit de Corps is made up of the marching band and the Highlandettes dance team. “It’s definitely been a challenging year, not just with COVID, but this has been the longest marching season we’ve ever had.”
The UIL marching season usually wraps up by mid-November with the state contests, but because of the pandemic, the league has stretched it out well into December.
“Here we are in the first week of December, and we’re just going to the area contest,” Hicks pointed out.
The Esprit de Corps is one of 26 Class 4A bands competing at Hays Consolidated Independent School District Stadium, 4800 Jack C. Hays Trail in Buda. Burnet performs at 9:18 p.m.
The public can attend the event, which starts at 9 a.m. with the 6A area marching contests followed by 4A at approximately 1 p.m. Tickets are $5 cash only for school-age youths and adults and available at the gate.
The UIL will enforce its COVID-19 protocols, including requiring face coverings for spectators as well as maintaining social distancing in the stands between different groups and families.
Five judges watch each performance with two evaluating movement and routine and three evaluating musical performance. The top five bands advance to the state marching contests slated for Dec. 14 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
In preparation for the late performance time, the Esprit de Corps put in a late rehearsal Monday, Nov. 30, under the lights at Bulldog Stadium. It also gave the members a taste of the colder weather they might be facing during the contest.
“Marching band has never been like this, where the kids are out there in 38-degree weather,” Hicks said. “These kids are tough, and they have a lot of heart.”
The Esprit de Corps picked an aptly named contest routine, “Our Journey,” which shares a story of perseverance through music and movement. Since starting in late July, the band and Highlandettes have put their best effort forward, Hicks said.
“This whole season, they’ve motivated each other, helped each other out, and really done everything they’ve been asked to do and more,” he said. “The kids are the best of us. They’ve inspired me to keep going this year when things got tough.”