Texas is known for its fondness of the Friday night lights of high school football, and a big part of what makes those games so spectacular are the high school marching bands.
The band's job doesn't end at performing a fancy halftime show; they also help rile the crowd up to cheer on the team. The band plays songs that the cheerleaders and drill team dance to, and they do all of this while outfitted in sweltering uniforms, balancing elaborate hats and sometimes strapped into enormously heavy instruments.
Texas high schools are classified by size ranked from 1A (being the smallest), to 6A at the larger end. There are so many incredible bands in the smaller schools that it would be impossible to list them all here. Many of them, like the Sundown High School Band in Sundown, Texas, have consistently won top honors at competition. Some others that we didn't have room for, but are truly accomplished are the Yoe High School Band from Cameron, Texas, The Queen City High School Band from Queen City, Texas, the Clifton High School Band from Clifton, Texas, and the White Oak High School Band from White Oak, Texas.
University Interscholastic League marching band competitions take place every other year. The results from the 2015 competition have been made public since we first published this article. Also, this week the 4A and 6A divisions of schools competed, and those results are now in. Here are just 10 of the dozens of incredible and award-winning Texas high school marching bands from across the state.
*The information in this article is based on available data from the University Interscholastic League (UIL) state competitions from 2016 to 2008, from 4A-6A sized high schools.
Waxahachie High School - Waxahachie
The Spirit of Waxahachie Indian Band has placed in the top 10 for the past four UIL competitions in which they have participated, and they have secured many other awards and accomplishments. In 2015 they ranked number seven in the state for the 5A division.
The Woodlands High School - The Woodlands
The Woodlands High School band has been honored twice by the John Philip Sousa Foundation; ranked in the top 10 in the past four UIL competitions for 6A high schools in Texas; and won the Bands of America Grand National Championship in 2013. Yesterday they maintained that level of excellence, and placed at number eight.
Coppell High School - Coppell
The northwest Dallas suburb of Coppell has produced one of the top marching bands in the state of Texas. They've ranked in the top 10 for the past three UIL state competitions for 6A high schools. They were booted out of the top 10 this year, but not too far. They came in at number 11. Under the direction of Scott Mason for over 25 years, the Coppell High School Band has achieved many honors, including marching in the 2001 Tournament of Roses parade in California. In 2004, the band was invited to march in the St. Patrick's Day parade in Dublin, Ireland.
Wakeland High School - Frisco
The Wakeland High School band in Frisco, Texas has achieved a top 10 ranking in the past four UIL competitions in which they competed. Last year they won the number five spot for 5A high schools, moving up from their previous 4A class. In 2008, the band traveled to Branson, Missouri to participate in the Ozark Showcase of Music, and they traveled to New Orleans the following year to participate in the Cajun Showcase of Music.
North Lamar High School - Paris
The North Lamar High School Panther band has won numerous accolades for their marching routines. They have continued in their tradition of remarkable music making and performance by winning the number one spot in the 4A competition this week. Also, in July of this year, some North Lamar band members participated in the Dallas Symphony's performance of the "Stars and Stripes Forever" which set a world record for the most piccolo players.
Princeton High School - Princeton
Although the small Northeast Texas town of Princeton only has around 7,000 residents, the Princeton High School band has not gone unnoticed. The band has consistently placed in the top ten for the past four UIL competitions in which they have participated. Third place tends to be their spot, although they have also placed ninth (in 2012) and fourth (in 2008). Since that time has elapsed, they moved up from a 3A category to the 4A classification.
Marcus High School - Flower Mound
Of the large high schools in Texas, Marcus High School in Flower Mound is a difficult one to beat. In fact, the Marcus band has placed first in five state UIL competitions in recent years. This year they were knocked out of that place by Flower Mound High School and Hebron High school, consecutively. Still, third place isn't bad, and their continued excellence makes them a force to recon with. They also ranked fifth in the 2013 Bands of America Grand National Championship.
Hebron High School - Carrollton
This high school in the Dallas suburb of Carrollton has ranked in the top 10 in the past four UIL competitions. They maintained their spot in second place this year for the third time, placing just behind Flower Mound High School. The Hebron Band was honored by the John Philip Sousa Foundation in 2012 and has often been a "Best in Class" award winner at UIL competitions.
Argyle High School - Argyle
The Argyle High School band in Argyle, Texas won first place for 3A high schools in 2010 and 2012 at the state UIL competition. The small Dallas suburb has since grown in size, and it is now a 4A school. They held their own in the larger category though, catching second place at this year's competition.
Flower Mound High School - Flower Mound
Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD made an astonishing leap in this year's competition, placing first in the 6A division. This jump cannot be ignored. It's an increase of eight places, because in 2014 the band placed ninth. This year they upset Marcus High School, whose band has won multiple high-ranking spots in the UIL competitions of years past. Marcus ranked third in the competition this year.