Thousands endure heat, rain for marching competition

Members of the Sharyland High School Marching Band perform on the field in the finals of the Bands of American South Texas Regional Championships at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

MCALLEN — The heat did not keep fans from showing up and supporting their favorite band members, though it did bring some to seek refuge in the shade provided underneath the bleachers of McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Others came prepared with sunglasses and umbrellas, but soon those umbrellas came to serve another purpose as rain began to come down. The McNeil High School of Austin did not miss a beat as they played on and finished with their set before a generous 2:30 p.m. break in the lineup.

Members of the Mission High School Marching Band perform on the field in the finals of the Bands of American South Texas Regional Championships at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

The Bands of America South Texas Regional Championship was held Saturday, with nearly thirty marching bands from high schools across the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas participating in the marching competition.

Dan Cremar traveled from Laredo to watch his daughter perform with the Laredo United marching band.

“We come to all of her contests every year,” said Cremar about his daughter Tyler, who is a junior and plays the flute. “There’s never a problem with having to travel for your kids.”

The Bands of America is a division of Music For All, an organization that promotes marching competitions throughout the United States. The South Texas Regional Championship began early, with Gladys Porter Early College High School from Brownsville scheduled to take the field at 7:45 a.m.

“I think this is awesome,” said Tye Walker, whose daughter is a freshman and in the colorguard with the McAllen High School band. “This is all new to me. I think it’s amazing.”

Members of the Mission High School Marching Band prepare before the finals of the Bands of American South Texas Regional Championships at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

“It’s great for me. This is actually my sixth year because my daughter was in band as well,” said Edna Gonzalez, whose son Andrew plays the snare drum on the La Joya High School drumline. “As a parent, it’s very exciting to see all the dedication and hard work that the kids have put out throughout the summer. If they can be out there in the hot sun, we can be there to support them as well.”

When asked about the sense of community among the supporters, Gonzalez likened it to a family.

“If you see, a lot of the fans are sitting together,” explained Gonzalez. “It’s not just the parents from that band supporting them, it’s everybody cheering on the students because we know the hard work and dedication that it takes.”

Following a few delays due to rain, the ten bands who advanced to the finals were announced. They included Mission High School, Sharyland High School, Birdville High School, Laredo United High School, Del Rio High School, Sharyland Pioneer High School, John B. Alexander High School, McNeil High School, Roma High School and Winston Churchill High School.

Earning the top three spots were Winston Churchill H.S. in third place, Roma H.S. in second place, and John B. Alexander with the top spot.