Warhorse Band receives Division I at UIL Region Contest

Pictured are Color Guard members Cynthia Hicks, Bailey Kendrick, Josie Holguin, Alyssa Rodriguez, Paige Williamson, and solosit Taylor DuBose, as well as many of the 130 members of the Warhorse Band. Photo by Mable Byrd.

This past Saturday The Warhorse Band received straight ones – for an overall Superior Rating/ Division One at the UIL Region 11 Marching Band Contest in Hondo!! This performance marked the culmination of hundreds of hours of work and preparation – and the peak of the 2017 contest season.
This year’s marching show entitled: “The Samurai & the Maiden” was full of color, culture, and interesting visual elements. Containing three movements, the music was composed by Randall Standridge and the entire visual package of choreography and marching drill was designed by Richard Lopez and his company, Performer’s Academy, in San Antonio. The production was in three parts – Part One: “Prologue/The Warrior’s Path – with featured Horn soloist Taylor Dubose; Part Two: “Under the Cherry Blossoms” with Anahii Ramirez performing a Trumpet solo; and Part Three: “The Duel/Epilogue” – with a LOT of percussion!
Planning for a marching show begins in early spring each year as several choices are made – and this year the process was exciting as the students really enjoyed the style of music and theme selected!
After earning 3rd Place Overall in Fredericksburg, 2nd Place Overall in Harlandale – and straight ones, it was a challenge to the Warhorse Band to push to a higher level for the UIL Contest!
The students truly represented Devine High School and the community of Devine with great pride!!
Here are some of the comments which were written by the three UIL judges: “Excellent Band Sounds!”, “Super Musicianship!”, “Very Memorable Performance”, “Awesome Guard!”, and “Bravo!!”.
It is always a humbling experience to work with these dedicated students and enjoy the rewards and share in the success resulting from hard work.
In these days where technology has forced a lack of interaction and a desire for instant gratification – it is this very success by the Warhorse Band that should reassure all of us that our youth can in fact focus and work to produce excellence over a long period of time (literally months) and not give up!
Our community has been incredible all the way through supporting our kids – right up to the awesome parade with fire engine and police escort through Devine to celebrate their success. We are all part of a BIG family here in Devine – and the Warhorse Band is a family too. As Lindsey Spannagel said to the band before we departed for Hondo: “I can’t even explain to each of you how important this band has been to me for seven years (since 6th grade), and I Believe in each of You today – we are going to do our Very Best!!”
The scene at the Band Hall that night as we unloaded and checked in uniforms was full of smiles, and pure heart. Many groups took turns taking photos with the UIL Trophy and often chants broke out among the members. Those are the memories of the Warhorse Band that will last a lifetime – and the reason why myself, Mr. Settles, Mr. Quintero, and Mrs. Miller keep pushing everyday toward the next level of excellence!
By Jeff Miller
DHS Director of Bands

Miller in 8th year as Director
Jeff Miller is currently leading the Devine Band program for the 8th year. This is the 3rd consecutive Division 1 rating Devine High School has received in Marching Band – the 4th since Mr. Miller started leading the program. Devine advanced from the UIL Region to the Area level last year, which for marching band can only be done every two years. You can advance all the way to state biannually – which will be a possibility again in 2018.
There are currently approximately 325 students involved in the Devine Band program grades 6-12, the largest since Miller took over the program. This year is a smaller group of seniors, at 17, because that particular class was small from the beginning. The great news is though that this will mean another BIG growth year for the Fall of 2018 as retention has been terrific – so look for even a larger Warhorse Band!!
By K.K. Calame