Lake Ridge High School Band performs
(credit: Stewart McKenzie)

BEDFORD (CBSDFW.COM) – It is a recognizable and distinctive part of Friday night lights in Texas. There are the high school football teams and the cheerleaders with their pom poms.

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However, the high school marching bands are currently taking center stage across Texas. The University Interscholastic League (UIL) state marching contest is underway.

You might call it the playoff time of the season for high school marching bands.

At Pennington Field in Bedford Tuesday, local class 4A and 5A bands strutted their stuff hoping to impress a panel of judges.

“You can do it Lake Ridge,” yelled one band parent as the Lake Ridge High School band from Mansfield took the field for their performance.

Regional marching contests are wrapping up by Thursday. Qualifiers will go on to the area marching contests this weekend. In class 5A, the bands range in size, typically, from 150 to 300 members.

Mansfield Summit High School performs
(credit: Stewart McKenzie)

Much of the music isn’t what you would hear on a top 40 radio station. However in Arlington’s Juan Seguin High School’s performance titled “God Save The Queen”, listeners were treated to a portion of “Bohemian Rhapsody” by the rock group Queen.

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The bands tell a story through song, steps and symbolism. The bands have a variety of styles from a military-like approach to a more choreogeraphed show.

The sounds of trumpets, trombones, clarinets and the rat-a-tat-tat of snare drums have a partner on this stage. Color guards, some in costume, help convey the story to the audience.

Some of the performance themes may not fall in line with the glory and rah-rah hype of Friday Night Football. Legacy High School in Mansfield selected the theme “Choices: Our Inner Struggle”. Birdville High School in North Richland Hills titled their performance “If Not Now…When?”.

“The DFW area is one of the hot beds of outstanding bands,” said Richard Floyd, the UIL State Director of Music.

An estimated 200 class 5A bands are performing in regional contests across the state. By this weekend, when the area contests take place, that number will be whittled in half.

The crescendo of the high school marching season happens next month. Winners from the area contests will travel to San Antonio to participate in the state marching contest. In class 5A alone there will be 35 bands.

The bands will perform at the Alamodome in front of a crowd that has been as big as 25,000 people in recent years.

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