DONNA — Music floated into the bleachers Saturday at the Bennie LaPrade Stadium in Donna as flags, rifles and batons soared in the air and drum majors kept their marching bands to the beat.
High school bands from Donna to Port Isabel showcased their musical and marching talents during the UIL Region 28 Pigskin Jubilee as bands hoped to receive top ratings or win the title of “best band.”
The bands ranged in size from the smaller Division 1A bands to larger Division 4A bands. Each school had 15 minutes on the field to show what they had.
“They have to keep up their grades, learn the music and learn their field movements,” San Benito resident Margarita Sosa said. “I give them a lot of credit — all of the band members.”
Sosa sat in the bleachers with her son, Robert Perez, as they waited to watch the San Benito High School band and Sosa’s daughter, Yesenia.
Perez said he was proud of his younger sister and the dedication she has had to the marching band.
“This competition is the culmination of all of their hard work all season,” Perez said.
Before each performance, band members stood on the field, at attention and ready to perform, as members of the percussion pit stood ready to play their instruments.
Color guard members set up their brightly colored flags at the appropriate yard line and spot on the field.
Some bands wore gangster hats, others had large props on the field such as pictures of mythological characters, and another had a large portrait of President Kennedy on the field.
One band had a member rush off the field to play an electric guitar solo, complete with rock star moves.
After the bands finished their shows, they marched off the field and congratulated each other, giving one another hugs and celebrating their performance.
As the Raymondville High School marching band exited the field, band members’ parents helped the students carry off percussion instruments.
“They’ve worked hard,” Elizabeth Gonzales said. “Me, as a parent, I know because I have to pick my son up at 8:15 (p.m.) or so after practice and then it’s off to his studies.”
A group of parents whose children are members of the Raymondville marching band hosted a luncheon for the students after their final run-through practice Saturday, parent Leti Rebeles Rodriguez said.
During the luncheon, the principal and superintendent gave the band a motivational speech before they headed to Donna. The parents held signs of support at the intersection of Farm-to-Market roads 490 and 1015 as the buses drove by.
“We get to show off our hard work all season today,” Raymondville band member Eric Arguelles said. “It was pretty exciting.”
Carla Harbour and Susan Adams, both teachers at Harlingen High School South, arrived at the event just as it began.
“We want to see the whole program,” said Harbour, a French teacher.
“We love the marching band,” Adams added.
Adams, a math teacher, and Harbour both have students in their classes who are members of the band.
“They go to all of the football games and play and they’re tired the next day,” Harbour said. “And it’s hard because a lot of us give tests on Fridays. And most of them are such good students.”
Adams said the students spend a lot of time preparing for Pigskin and practice after each school day.
“There’s a lot of competition to get into the marching band at South,” Harbour said.
The band members usually wear their band shirts to school every day when a football game is scheduled, but Friday they did even more than that, Harbour said.
“All of the band members dressed in professional attire so that we could wish them luck and recognize them,” Harbour said.