The Burnet High School Esprit de Corps jumped from fourth in the preliminary round to second in the finals of the Area D marching contest in Pflugerville on Saturday, Oct. 30, to lock down a return trip to the state competition.
“(The) students were thrilled. We knew going into area that advancing to state is never a sure thing,” said band director Drew Hicks. “Everyone at the area level is good, and it was our mindset to be memorable and have a performance we were proud of. Hearing the announcement that we placed second overall and advancing to the state marching band championship was quite a rush. And we’re so proud of our students.”
Burnet’s contest show “November Rain” is fitting as the group’s season marches into November.
The Esprit de Corps, which consists of the marching band and Highlandettes dance squad, will compete at the University Interscholastic League state marching band championships on Wednesday, Nov. 10, at the Alamodome, 100 Montana St. in San Antonio. The Esprit de Corps performs at 9:45 a.m. in the preliminary round of the 4A contest.
Out of the 26 bands in the preliminary round, 10 advance to the finals, which start at 7 p.m. the same day at the Alamodome.
This marks the Esprit de Corps’ second straight trip to the state championships. Last year, the ensemble finished third at state. Typically, the UIL alternates the state marching contests with 1A, 3A, and 5A bands advancing in odd-numbered years and 2A, 4A, and 6A advancing in even years. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the UIL decided to allow all classes to hold state championships this year.
The 1A, 3A, and 5A contests are Monday-Wednesday, Nov. 1-3; the 2A, 4A, and 6A contests are Monday-Wednesday, Nov. 8-10.
Tickets for the state marching band contest are $20 for preliminaries and $20 for finals. Or, people can purchase a combination preliminary/finals ticket for $35. Additional Ticketmaster fees apply.
Tickets are available online or at the Alamodome box office. The Alamodome has a clear bag policy. An additional parking fee at the Alamodome is $15, cash only. Spectator parking will be in Lot B; overflow parking is available off site.
The Burnet Esprit de Corps entered the season as a young ensemble with many underclassmen making up the band. Their youth didn’t hold them back.
“We felt very confident about our performance going into our prelims performance on Saturday (at area),” Hicks said. “The level of preparation from the students prepared them for a good run.”
After the preliminary round, the Esprit de Corps came in fourth out of 30 bands, giving them a spot in the finals.
It was a long wait between the preliminary performance at 9:45 a.m. and the finals performance at 9:45 p.m. The ensemble was able to rest, even returning to Burnet High School.
Going into the state contest, Esprit de Corps members know what lies ahead.
“The biggest takeaway from area is that we know we are heading into some really tough competition going into state,” Hicks said. “At each level of advancement, the overall level of excellence on the field from each group improves exponentially. Every band we’ll be competing with will be excellent. It’s our job to be as precise and clean as we can possibly be for our state prelims performance.”
Esprit de Corps leaders don’t plan to make any changes between now and state.
“We are going to continue to rehearse and prepare the way we normally do in preparation for state,” Hicks added. “We believe in consistency and are relentlessly dedicated to our fundamentals.”
Visit the UIL state marching band contest webpage for more information on attending.