Burnet High School’s Esprit de Corps punched its ticket to the University Interscholastic League State Marching Contest after earning the area championship in Buda on Saturday, Dec. 5.
The Esprit de Corps, which consists of the marching band and Highlandettes dance team, will now perform Monday, Dec. 14, at 4:55 p.m. at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
“We are so excited and proud of these kids,” said Highlandettes director Caity Clinton. “This group of students have a great work ethic, support, and encourage each other during rehearsals and strive for greatness every rehearsal we have.”
In the UIL 4A Area D Marching Contest, the Esprit de Corps was 24th out of 26 bands to perform, taking the field at 9:18 p.m. But the group’s nighttime preparations in the cold under the lights at Bulldog Stadium paid off. The five-judge panel gave Esprit de Corps a nine-point score. The lower the score, the better. The two marching judges each ranked Esprit de Corps first, with one music judge giving it a No. 1 ranking followed by a No. 2 and a No. 4 by the other two music judges.
Second-place finisher Kennedale High School earned 16 points.
“I believe the high level of performance that our students brought to the field was what set them apart,” Hicks said. “Esprit de Crops didn’t just go out there and get through a program; they went out in 40-degree weather and performed for the crowd and the judges. It was special.”
As for this week’s preparation for state, Hicks said they aren’t doing anything special.
“Other than the magnitude of the event, we are approaching everything the same way we always do throughout the season,” he said. “We take pride in trusting our processes and procedures that get us to the level of area champion. These students are bought in and are enjoying the ride so far. We are approaching the state marching championship like any other performance. The expectation level never changes.”
Tickets for the UIL State Marching Contest are $20 per person. No admission for children 3 and younger. Tickets went on sale Monday, Dec. 7, and are available through Ticketmaster or by calling 800-745-3000.
The 4A marching contest begins at 3:30 p.m. with doors opening at 3 p.m. The Alamodome will be set up in a “socially-distance configuration,” so tickets can be purchased in groupings of two through eight seats.
The Alamodome and UIL will follow COVID-19 health and safety protocols, including requiring spectators to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing. Check the UIL State Marching Band Contest website for more information on the event.
This marks the fifth trip for Esprit de Corps to the state marching championship since 2008, but its school classification (4A now and 3A previous to 2014) is only eligible to advance to the state contest in even-numbered years.
Clinton, who’s been a director with Esprit de Corps at previous state contests, is looking forward to the group’s return.
“I could not be more proud of them,” she said. “I am excited to be returning to state and watch these students have this experience.”