Nearly 30 bands converge on Cove for regional contest
By WENDY SLEDD
Special to Leader-Press
The Copperas Cove High School Band under the direction of Randy Kelley will host the annual UIL Region 8 High School Concert and Sight Reading Contest tomorrow and Wednesday. During this two-day event, 11 local high schools will bring a total of 27 bands consisting of more than 1,000 members to the stage of Lea Ledger Auditorium in Copperas Cove.
Each high school will bring at least two bands, varsity and non-varsity and some will enter a third band, sub-non-varsity. These bands will perform on stage in the Concert portion of the contest. Then, they will move to the Sight Reading portion of the contest and perform a previously unseen song to display their sight reading skills.
Bands must perform music from the UIL music list based on their band’s contest entry. Varsity bands must choose from the more difficult musical selections list while the non-varsity and sub-non-varsity bands choose from less challenging music which matches their skill-levels.
Two panels, one for the stage performance and the other for sight reading, are comprised of three judges each who will critique the bands in areas of tone, technique, and musicianship. Each judges gives each band a rating of 1-5 with a 1 being the Superior rating. Those scores are averaged with each band then receiving a composite rating for their stage performance and a separate composite rating for their sight reading performance, said Tony Chapa, an assistant CCHS band director who manages the contest office.
“It is a great learning experience for our students to listen to and meet other bands as they assist on stage and in the sight reading room or escort the visiting bands through the contest,” he said.
Jade Chaco, a senior percussionist and member of the CCHS Wind Ensemble is familiar with the process the competition requires.
“As a performer, it’s kind of intense and everyone is quiet before we play,” he said. “But when we get on the stage, it always feels really good. We feel a sense of relief after we perform.”
To host an event of this magnitude, many CCHS band students volunteer their time along with band booster parents who serve as guides, help with band-set-up, and assist judges and directors. Parent booster volunteers monitor the warm-up and sight reading rooms.
For CCHS Senior Shelby Young, the event culminates her high school band career.
“It’s always interesting to meet other bands on a more personal level,” the drum major. “You always know a band by name at marching competitions, but working this contest gives you a chance to interact with them on a one-on-one basis.”
Every student job is important to keep the contest running smoothly, said CCHS Assistant Band Director Scott Lanham.
“The stage crew is integral to assisting the visiting bands. This crew is responsible for setting up each band’s unique seating chart which includes risers, chairs, and stands,” he said.
“Working the stage crew is the most difficult job,” Young said. “There is no time for error to keep the contest running on time.”
The competition is held at Lea Ledger Auditorium, 400 S. 25th Street, and is free and open to the public.
The UIL Region 8 West Zone Middle School Concert and Sight Reading Contest is April 30 at Lea Ledger Auditorium in Copperas Cove.