The band from Canyon Lake High School — the newest high school in Comal County, Texas — will not be participating in the 2007 UIL marching contest. This news comes even though promises were made that students attending the new high school would be afforded every opportunity the other schools in the district have.
According to the history page, University Interscholastic League, (UIL) was founded as an outreach program by the University of Texas in 1904, the UIL, established formally in 1913 merging the Debate League with the Athletic Association. It is a big deal in Texas. High school students from across the state compete in several academic, athletic, or musical events. The competition is healthy and provides Texas student’s achievements beyond passing grades with extra curricular activities, common bond, and the desire to excel.
Opened in August 2007, CLHS is the newest high school erected in Comal Independent School District. Currently the high school only supports grades 9 and 10. There are three other high schools in the district, two mainstreams and one alternative.
When CLHS was priming to open, meetings about what to expect, student tours, and general promotion filled students with expectations beyond what the school could fulfill. When the news of UIL marching not occurring broke to the band, many were heart broken–especially those of the sophomore class that competed at Smithson Valley High School, SV, the year before.
Missing UIL is not the first setback CLHS band has faced. When students arrived for summer band camp, a third of the band did not get notice so they did not show. There were not enough stands or chairs to seat all of the students at camp. And, the band hall was not funded for a piano or keyboard.
Since school has been in session, the band has mostly only performed at home games. One away game was initiated at the last minute in an effort to boost the band’s morale. Students are beginning to not attend after school practices, relaying one excuse after another–a problem that does not exist at SV where if you miss practice you lose your (marching) spot.
So why can’t the band go to UIL? I asked the same question. The reply (paraphrased): when they built the practice field they did not paint out the field markers. Apparently when the markers were finally painted they were done wrong! The students had no place to practice, mark their positions, or perfect a drill in the time left until UIL marching contest.
“Somebody in Central Office dropped the ball,” said one sophomore. “There is only a handful of us (sophomores), they could have kept us at SV like they did with the junior and senior classes,” said another. A band parent said, “where I work, if we do something wrong, we work until we rectify it–even if it means working overtime.” I say true to all statements.
The district should have followed through on getting the practice field operational. If it was not possible, they should have provided an alternate plan–like transporting the students to SV to practice when they are not using their field or allowing for practice time on the CLHS football field.
This UIL marching competition was the big show for the band. Sure they will have ensemble and solo competitions, but the marching is what a lot of Texas high school bands refer to when they make comparisons.
University Interscholastic League, History page, UIL web site.