Band Extravaganza Ignites Crowd

Annual MSX Puts Spotlight on Middle School Band
By: Todd Martin
With its grand classical music and imagery of medieval gargoyles and dramatic flowing flags and shifting formations, the Harker Heights Red Brigade Band and Avalon color guard drew a wave of applause from the large, stadium audience.
The high school band’s performance of its “Gothic” competition show Saturday at Leo Buckley Stadium followed the individual performances of 10 middle school bands and preceded a finale with all participants spread across the stadium turf.
It was a Middle School Extravaganza, the annual Harker Heights Band Boosters fundraiser and for middle school band students, a peak into the life of high school band.
Harker Heights junior Jonathan Duenas, the Red Brigade Band’s head drum major, performed at MSX years ago for the Union Grove Middle School band.
“It’s exciting to see the young people out here,” said Duenas as the middle school band students returned to the field to join the high school band for the night’s finale.
“This is our little ad to say, ‘come on over.’ It’s great fun.”

The Harker Heights band is preparing to perform in the Bands of America contest in Austin next week, prior to the UIL contest season that gets underway in October.
“It felt good,” Duenas said of the performance. “We’re locked in. The music makes sense. It has a gothic feel. It’s electrifying. There’s a lot of emotion.”
The middle school band directors appreciated the chance for their students to see the production and to get a taste of playing on the stadium turf in front of a huge crowd.
“I think it helps them get ready for high school,” said Ashley Hogan, one of the Nolan Middle School cheerleader sponsors. Several middle school bands included dance teams, cheerleader teams or both.
“It also helps build comradery across the disciplines and it shines a light on middle school band and the hard work of our middle school band directors.”
“It’s an important event,” said Eastern Hills band director Kell Harris. “The kids deserve a spotlight. It gives them some incentive to stay in band. We’re excited to be here. It’s a little nerve raking for them. It’s something they will remember.”

Live Oak Ridge Middle School band director Rodney Howell said the annual middle school showcase in the middle of September provides a strong incentive for students to work hard from the beginning of the school year.
“I think it’s good for them to have something to work toward,” he said. “They know coming in that they have to perform in a month. It’s good incentive. They want to sound good. They are very excited.”
The show began with the Liberty Hill band, Union Grove band, Golden Belles dance team and cheerleaders, Nolan band, Blue Diamonds dance team and cheerleaders, Eastern Hills band and Smith band.
The second stage included the Rancier band, Palo Alto band and cheerleaders, Manor band, Live Oak Ridge band and Patterson band and Sapphires dance team. It concluded with the Harker Heights High School band and color guard and the finale with all bands.