Band busy with competitions


Nicholas Barrios

Marching band percussion practices for the Sun City Throwdown in front of the school at 7 a.m.

Nicholas Barrios, Reporter

Ever since last July the big bad blue band has been up well before the sun rises to practice for any competition coming their way. Hot or cold they’re ready at 6:45 a.m., sharpening their skills to represent the school.

Their hard work as well as the efforts of Conquistador band directors David Miranda, Robert Hayden, Roque Orozco and Keith Morales took them as far as the Area competition in Odessa, Tx, on Oct. 23, where they beat the preliminaries and placed seventh out of 10 bands in the finals.
Throughout the school year the band has been judged on their skills and qualified to move up at every competition from the T-bird Invitational to the UIL Region ‘22. None of this practice has been in vain.
“The band has performed really well, they placed 1st division in the UIL Regional competition and exceeded our expectations,” band director Robert Hayden said.
The directors push the band to do their best and encourage development as a team.
“The band as a whole must improve. Every competition should be better than the last. No performance should be just good enough,” Hayden said.
Although the band started practicing for these competitions in the summer they have faced some challenging surprises.
“We play the same piece at every competition but out of respect for the 9/11 tragedy we were given two weeks to learn “America The Beautiful” and for Hispanic Heritage month we also had two weeks to learn a Selena tribute. For the Sun City Throwdown, which is for percussion, we had one week to learn our new piece,” bass drummer Samuel Cerecerez said.
And as tough as that seems, the band is still challenged by a few traditional rules.
“Each band is only allowed to have students practice eight hours a week and no more, when we perform we have eight minutes to play and anything longer is marked against us,” bass drummer Brandon Moore said.
The reason these surprises are challenging is because they are implemented into a plan which needs to be executed precisely.
“Before any sort of practice, directors and design teams from all over the country get together for months to discuss what will be played and how bands will march,” band director Roque Orozco said.
For their last performance during the Area competition in Odessa, directors believe the band faced some unusual circumstances.
“Our band was one of the first to play at Area so we had everyone on the bus by 4 a.m. and being on a bus didn’t offer much comfort or rest so it was a really big adjustment which caused a lot of exhaustion and there could have been a little more preparation. But I think it was mostly exhaustion that affected their performance,” Orozco said.
Despite everything in their way, directors set their sights high.
“Even with COVID and everything going on I look forward to seeing this group become one of the best Del Valle has ever seen,” Orozco said.
After placing seventh at the Area competition the band did not advance to state.
“Since we got seventh we’re not going to State anymore so our next competition will be the Sun City Throwdown but that’s for percussion only and I think it’s our last competition for marching band too,” Cerecerez said.
Percussion took first place in the Sun City Throwdown, however it isn’t the band’s final performance.
“Once we finish up these competitions we have to start preparing for Jazz band season coming up in February and then Concert band in July,” Hayden said.