LHHS to host USBands marching contest

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The Liberty Hill band will give an exhibition performance at 1:10 p.m. as part of the USBands marching competion Saturday, Oct. 8, at Panther Stadium. Thousands of students and their families from across the state are expected in Liberty Hill next weekend. (Alex Rubio Photo)By Rebecca Canfield

Masses of people will be swarming into Liberty Hill from all over Texas Saturday, Oct. 8, as Liberty Hill High School will be hosting the USBands Central Texas Regional Championships.

The competition, which is set to draw in 22 high school marching bands from all over Texas, is a huge opportunity for LHHS and the Liberty Hill community, said LHHS Band Boosters President Kellye Spangler.

The competition is a fundraiser for Band Boosters, and money raised will be put back into assisting band programs throughout Liberty Hill. While Liberty Hill’s own band will not be competing in the event, as is the tradition with hosting schools, Liberty Hill’s band will still have an exhibition performance that will receive feedback from the judges.

“This is going to be a huge event,” said Spangler. “The community is going to be surprised with how much activity we’re going to have. Initially, we had hoped to get between 13 to 15 bands, this being our first year. We were quite overwhelmed when we ended up getting 22 bands very quickly, and I had to contact them and say, ‘I think that’s about all we can handle for now.’”

The largest bands competing are Austin Anderson High School, Samuel Clemens High School of Schertz, and Adamson High School of Dallas. Lehman High School’s band is coming from Kyle, and John Marshall High School in San Antonio will also be competing.

Bands from Navasota High School and Cedar Creek High School, as well as Rockdale High School, La Grange High School and Waco High School will be competing.

Bands from closer to home include Florence, Bruceville-Eddy, Elgin, Taylor, Marble Falls, Manor, Lampasas, Burnet, Fredericksburg, and Crockett and Lyndon B. Johnson high schools in Austin.

LHHS Band Director John Perrin explained that since there are 22 bands, and the schools’ band members range from 100 to over 300 members per school, that the city will most likely be jam packed with people. There will be a few thousand band members who will be entering into the competition, but that will be in addition to any friends, family members, or fans that the bands may be bringing along with them to watch the competition this year. And while neither Spangler nor Perrin can give an accurate prediction as to the amount of people coming into town, the pair says that businesses ought to be prepared for a large increase in foot traffic that day.

Spangler, who began contacting USBands beginning in October 2015, found that the early bird really does get the worm. A USBands competition was held in a neighboring district last year, but the school was not asked to host again this year, Spangler explained. Since Liberty Hill was one of the first schools to ask USBands about hosting the event this year instead, and since Liberty Hill was so persistent, LHHS was given the go ahead to host this year. This is why, Spangler says, it so important to really put on a good event this year to ensure that unlike the other district, Liberty Hill will be asked to host again.

“We are thrilled to have the Liberty Hill High School host this event,” stated Scott McCormick, USBands Interim Director. “The facilities are amazing and the host has been great to work with, so we are definitely excited about bringing that show to the school next week.”

The band’s intention, said Spangler, is to have this competition be a yearly event, but in order to do that, the band really needs to impress both USBands and the various schools with all that Liberty Hill has to offer so they will be excited about next year’s return.

“For years we were just that little town outside of Austin, and we’re not anymore. We are a growing city and we have really nice facilities,” said Perrin. “This kind of helps put us on the map, and makes us a destination for people to come and compete. It raises the profile of the band, the town and the school.”

Perrin also explains that LHHS Band will be competing in three other competitions this year. The current competition, however, will give band members the opportunity to really watch the performances of a few bands that have qualified for state competitions in the past, so Liberty Hill will get to see what that high level of competition really looks like without having to be distracted by their own performance, Perrin said.

Additionally, each band member will be required to volunteer the day of the event. However, Spangler and Perrin both say they could still use several extra hands just to make sure everything comes together smoothly. Spangler also says that volunteering at the competition for a few hours would be a great way to get a free ticket to the all day event without having to pay the ticket price. Plus, it’s a good way to show community support as well.

“If you want to come and help, you are more than welcome to do that. You can go to our website and click volunteer, and sign up,” said Perrin. “We’d love to have people come and help out. We can use all the help we can get.”

Perrin also stated that there is a mandatory meeting for volunteers at 6 p.m. Oct. 4 in the high school auditorium and that interested parties should be sure to attend.

However, for those who just want to come out and see the bands play, Spangler and Perrin both stated that the evening showcase will really be an exciting show to see. Tickets are $16 for the full day event and can be purchased at the door. Additionally, there will be a $10 parking fee.

The preliminary competitions will begin at 9:50 a.m.

The Liberty Hill Band performs at 1:10 p.m. Perrin encouraged residents to come out and show support for the Panther Band. After that, bands will continue to perform until 3:50 p.m. when the awards for the preliminary competition will be announced. At that point, the competition will break for two hours for dinner. At 6 p.m. the finals competition will begin with performances from the 15 bands selected to advance.

Perrin said the do not miss event is the finals competition.

“I would really want to be here for the finals, those are going to be the cream of the crop,” said Perrin. “There’s not going to be a bad band. There are some great bands coming, and everybody there is going to be putting on a big show.”

For details on the USBands competition in Liberty Hill or to volunteer, visit www.libertyhillband.org.

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