Natalia Band makes history advancing to Area Marching Finals

“It was awesome experience. The Natalia Band has never made it to the Area Finals Round so this was special. This was our third time advancing to Area (2015, 2017 & 2019) . Super proud of these kids”, said Director Mendez. “After our performance Saturday before noon we all felt good about it and our chances at the finals. We had lunch in Corpus and then returned to await the news of which 12 would make it to the final round that evening out of the 31 bands there. When they said ‘Natalia High School’ the kids went nuts. They were so excited it so neat”, said Sergio Mendez, Director of Bands, Natalia ISD.
The 12 bands out of 31 who won the opportunity to compete in the of the final round at Area last Saturday were: Preliminary results: 1. Lyford 2. Falfurrias 3. Hitchcock 4. Santa Rosa 5. Natalia 6. Hebbronville 7. Palacios 8. Santa Gertrudis 9. Marion 10. Luling 11. Industrial 12. Odem.
After the finals all 12 bands took the field and awaited the news of who advances to State. It was around 11:00 pm that night that they announced those advancing are: Finals: 1. Lyford 2. Hitchcock 3. Santa Gertrudis 4. Palacios 5. Odem.
“Every year we pick up more steam and advance a little further. We are so proud of these kids. The support from the school, home and community is awesome. There are 93 in the program on the marching team. They have come a long ways”.
“Support all around was awesome! Parents, Superintendent, Principals, Teachers, Maintenance Dept., Cafeteria…you name it! Everyone helped out.”
“It’s been really neat seeing how the kids have done year after year. Our seniors took on leadership roles from the beginning after we had our first rehearsal this summer. They reflected on the goals they set for themselves during their sophomore year. Like anything else, we had our ups and downs but in the end we had a successful season”, said Mendez.
“This was our 6th First Division in a row at the Region Marching Contest, qualifying three times to Area, each opportunity. We are all pretty excited and proud of their accomplishments. It felt so good”.

Top Row Left to Right
Jeremiah Gomez, Paul Billalobos, Gianni Rios, Abraham Mendez, Xavier Serratos, Eric Sutton, Matthew Martin, Fabian Ruiz, Isaiah Santoya, De’Marea Esquibel, Diego Hernandez Guillen, Aiden Leal, Gustavo Gomez Gutierrez, Isaiah Sanchez. Second row from the top: Dezarae Headlee, Dustin Cruz, Sergio Mendez, Isabella Martinez, Allie Ramirez, Katie Curiel, Saul Valadez, Wyatt Owens, Marco Morales, Rebekah Sanchez, Gabrielle Santoya, Angelica Padilla, Ruben Rodriguez, Roberto Hernandez. Third from top: Reagan Juarez, Raelene Quintero, Kate Robinson, Anthony Garza, Malekai Miramontes, Brianna Rizo, Marina Billalobos, Joseph Helton, Skylyn Kutzer, Hailey Rizo, Noah Gilkey, Levi Castaneda, Myranda Yanes, Janessa Ruiz, RJ Velasquez. Color Guard Row: Genesis Perez, Briana Paredes, Gabriella Munoz, Evelyn Gomez, Ashley Sutton, Evalyn Perez, Liberty Gilkey, Evelyn Lopez, Kayla Jaime. Row right below Color Guard: Sophia Padilla, Persephone Walsh, Jasmine Riso, Thomas Ventimiglia, Britney Castro, Anthony Guevara, Kiara Rosales, Ignacio Guevara Jr, Kendall Tanner, Simon Garcia, Mikayla Jiselle, Gonzales, Kamilah Torres, Jocelyn Garcia. Bottom Row: Christine Moore, Victoria Martinez, Inda Cardona, Jasmine Ramon, Chelsea Zubia, Sabrina Ramon, Adrianna Calvillo, Jayden Garcia, Meg Martinez, Daniela Padilla, Belen Mendoza, Jasmine Del Toro, Jo-Anna Jamaica, Skylyene Gallegos. Not pictured… Joe Chavez, Cadence Crouse, Austyn Rodriguez, Zachary Rodriguez, Christopher Flores, Ebonnee Velasquez, Leticia Celeste Valenzuela, Lauren Rizo, Calvin Ellis, Rubiana Juarez, Adrian Lopez Tirado, Valerie Lopez, Iliana Mendez, Blake Owens, Karianna Sanchez, Zachary Tanner, Jovi Velasquez, Sophia Tolbert and Juvencia Ruiz. Photo courtesy MVP Photography.
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This year’s seniors are:
Billalobos, Paul – Trumpet
Castaneda, Levi – Percussion/Bass Drum Line
Garcia, Jayden – Saxophone/Drum Major
Gomez Gutierrez, Gustavo – Front Ensemble
Gomez, Jerry- Front Ensemble
Guevara JR, Ignacio – Baritone
Headlee, Dezarae – Flute
Helton, Joseph – French Horn
Hernandez Guillen, Diego – Trombone
Jamaica, Jo-Anna – Flute
Martinez, Victoria – Saxophone
Perez, Evalyn – Flute/Color Guard
Ramon, Sabrina – Saxophone
Santoya, Gabrielle – Saxophone
Sutton, Ashley – Clarinet/Color Guard Captain
Sutton, Eric – Percussion/Tenor Drums
Valadez, Saul – Clarinet
Valenzuela, Leticia Celeste – Trombone
Directors and Drum Majors
The Mustang Band is under the field direction of Drum Majors Jayden Garcia and Adrianna Calvillo.
Directors are Sergio Mendez, Asst. Director Ms Delgado, Assistant Director Mr. Acevedo. Also helping are David Martinez (Drum Line Tech), and Trinity Vera (Color Guard Tech).
Directors thoughts
What do you think made this year’s show different from other years?
This year’s show was very intense. It was a little more difficult and they really got after it from the beginning.
What were the highlights of the season?
Earning a spot in the top three at the Rough Rider Contest for the first time, receiving straight 1’s at the Region Marching Contest and advancing to Area, placing 5th in the Area prelims and advancing to the Area Finals for the first time in school history!
Highlights of the performances?
This show was full of amazing moments. Opening statement was unique with the students visuals. We had lots of visual work, difficult visuals in this show. Second movement had a section that was very challenging where all sections were playing some kind of melodic line all intertwined. Third movement has a huge moment where they make two straight lines and march in half time to a very powerful melody. Fourth movement just finishes it all off strong.
Judges comments at region and area to advance?
So much being done well!”, “A lot of good things going on Natalia…I appreciate your show and your work.” & “You have so much talent…good grief..what a great show!”
How did the kids react to the advancement to the finals at Area?
The kids went nuts! It was so awesome to see their reaction.
What are some of your favorite memories as you watched these kids realize they had made the finals for the first time in history?
The look in their eyes, their smiles, the tears of joy, it was all amazing. It was really special to see them so happy. So happy for them!
Natalia Mustang Band received Div 1 at Roughrider
The NHS Band competed on Saturday, October 5th in the Roughrider Band Competition in San Antonio receiving 3rd place and Division 1 rating! Yoakum took first place and Marion second.

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1st Division Rating at Region
On Saturday, October 12, the Natalia Mustang Band competed in the UIL Regional 11 Marching Contest in Hondo, Texas. The band performed their marching show RA-The Egyptian Sun God, receiving their sixth 1st division rating in a row. They received straight 1s and the right to advance to Area on October 26 hosted at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Beeville. This is their six straight year receiving a first division
The Natalia Mustang Band put numerous hours of hard work, dedication, and perseverance to achieve their goal. This was our third time in a row advancing to the Area competition. “Our students have worked hard and we are very proud of them. We enjoyed representing our region at the Area marching contest,” stated the Natalia Band Directors.
“I would like to thank Asst. Director Ms Delgado, Assistant Director Mr. Acevedo, David Martinez (Drum Line Tech), Trinity Vera (Color Guard Tech), these guys are awesome and without them none of this would have been possible. Also the band parents and Natalia staff and administration for their hard work and continued support,” said Director Sergio Mendez.
Congratulation Mustang Band on your history making year by advancing to AREA FINALS!
By Kathleen Calame