NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - For the first time in Huntington ISD history, the high school band received a sweepstakes award from the UIL concert and sight-reading competition last week.
Huntington High School band consists of 26 students, including five seniors. Saxophone player Ricardo Bautista says his senior year has been made.
“It is kind of like the perfect going away surprise, making history at the school in my last year,” Bautista said.
Director Jon Wilson says the Huntington High School band achieved a goal of winning sweepstakes, which is basically scoring all ones on stage and all ones in the sight-reading process.
“We trained for this since January, for about three months. Then we get one opportunity to go in and perform for three judges live on stage. We transitioned to what is called the sight-reading portion, where the kids sit down,” Wilson explained. “I get seven minutes to explain a piece that I have never seen or the kids have never seen. They have to play it as written, and they get graded off of that. You go from one to five, one being superior and five being poor.”
Before winning the competition, Wilson says last year the COVID-19 pandemic cut their spring semester short.
“We were getting ready to go to contest. It is going to be very tough to see this class go because they have gone through a lot,” Wilson added. “This is a very resilient group. With the pandemic and then ice storm that we had coming through in February, but they never gave up.”
Bautista says he and his bandmates have received a lot of support from the Huntington community and they will never forget that day.
“It was really nerve-racking sitting on the stage with the lights on you. It also gets you that adrenaline feeling. It’s really beautiful,” Bautista added.
“To sit there and see them walk out with a sweepstakes trophy was great. Just the pure joy and excitement on their face. It was worth all the early morning rehearsals and the after-school rehearsals,” Wilson said.
On Thursday, Huntington ISD’s middle school band rated superior at the UIL concert and sight-reading room competition. Wilson says the high school band is preparing for their spring concert on May 11.