Natalia Band makes history, wins first Sweepstakes

This past Tuesday, the Natalia High School Band attended the Region 11 UIL Concert and Sightreading Contest in Pleasanton and received the coveted Sweepstakes award for the first time in school history. To accomplish such a task, bands must receive a first division rating or “one” in marching, on stage during concert season, and in sight-reading, also during concert season. At each UIL event, there are three judges that give their own rating and ratings are then tabulated to give one composite score. For the past few years, Natalia has narrowly missed this honor by one rating. However, this year, the band pushed themselves to the next level by performing difficult music selections worthy of a superior rating both on stage and in sight-reading. It is also to be noted that during each UIL event (marching, stage, and sight-reading) the Natalia High School Band received a first division rating from every judge this year, an impressive accomplishment. During their performance on stage, one judge commented, “Band demonstrates a very high level of musicianship and musical acuity. Too many exceptional qualities to enumerate. Outstanding in many, many ways. Bravo to the band!” To truly understand this remarkable achievement, Director of Bands, Sergio Mendez explains how the band got to this point. “This all started 6 years ago when our now-seniors were beginners. All of the fundamentals taught at that level carry from year to year. Every rhythm, note, concept, all directly relates to the next musical level.”

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At the most basic level, beginning band is such a pivotal time in a young musician’s career and a firm understanding can solidify musical understanding for years to come. This is clearly shown by the Natalia High School Band’s ratings over the years on both stage and in sight-reading. While the NHS Band had previously received a first division either on stage or in sight-reading it wasn’t until this year that the band was able to achieve superior ratings on both events. These events are strenuous and mentally challenging, with sight-reading being the most unpredictable event. Students have seven minutes to learn to play a new piece of music without ever seeing it before and with only instruction from the director. One of the judges from this event remarked, “This ensemble performs consistently with mature, characteristic sounds. Overall, the ensemble demonstrated a solid foundation of note and rhythm accuracy.” Another judge commented, “Wonderful musicianship and mastery of all aspects of musicality.”
It is clear that hard work, dedication, practice, and commitment to music and to the Natalia High School Band Program has led these students to the first Sweepstakes award in the history of Natalia High School. Director of Bands, Sergio Mendez would like to thank all who support the Natalia Band Program: band parents, the band boosters, the Natalia ISD administration, staff and faculty, and the maintenance and transportation departments for their never ending support. It truly takes a team to achieve such a momentous goal. Mr. Mendez would also like to congratulate the Lytle and Devine High School Bands for their Sweepstakes awards as well.
Members of the Natalia Band are Tatyana Alvarado, Marina Billalobos, Paul Billalobos, Adrianna Calvillo, Inda Cardona, Levi Castaneda, Britney Castro, Cadence Crouse, Dustin Cruz, Katie Curiel, Jasimne DelToro, De’Marea Esquibel, Chistopher Flores, Jayden Garcia, Jocelyn Garcia, Naomi Garcia, Simon Garcia, Anthony Garza, Liberty Gilkey, Noah Gilkey, Evelyn Gomez, Jerry Gomez, Jiselle Gonzales, Anthony Guevara, Jesse Guevara, Gustavo Gutierrez, Dezarae Headlee, Joseph Helton, Diego Hernandez, Roberto Hernandez, Kayla Jaime, JoAnna Jamaica, Reagan Juarez, Skylyn Kutzer, Aiden Leal, Isabella Martinez, Meg Martinez, Victoria Martinez, Abraham Mendez, Sergio Mendez, Belen Mendoza, Malekai Miramontes, Christine Moore, Marco Morales, Wyatt Owens, Angelica Padilla, Sophia Padilla, Briana Paredes, Genesis Perez, Evalyn Perez, Raelene Quintero, Alie Ramirez, Jasmine Ramon, Sabrina Ramon, Gianna Rios, Jasmine Riso, Brianna Rizo, Hailey Rizo, Lauren Rizo, Kate Robinson, Austyn Rodriguez, Ruben Rodriguez, Kiara Rosales, Isaiah Sanchez, Rebekah Sanchez, Gabi Santoya, Isaiah Santoya, Xavier Serratos, Ashley Sutton, Eric Sutton, Kendall Tanner, Kamilah Torres, Celeste Valenzuela, Thomas Ventimiglia, Dani Vera, Persephonoe Walsh, Myranda Yanes, and Chelsea Zubia.
By Sergio Martinez
Natalia ISD Band Director

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