Crowned for a Fourth

Band celebrates State 5A UIL Competition Win With Gold Medal Ceremony


Photo Courtesy of James Sanderson

Posing with the photo prop, sophomores and color guard members Lily Dodds and Hope Gibbs smile at the audience at the Band Gold Ceremony on Jan. 26. Gibbs said that it was a really exciting experience to receive the medal because she had been waiting for it for a long time and it was really satisfying to finally receive it. “I was mostly just really proud of my team,” Gibbs said. “I wouldn’t have gotten here without them and they all absolutely deserve their medals.”

Rachana Kommineni, Reporter

The lights shine bright and applauses are heard as members of the marching band await the moment they receive their medals. With bright smiles, they face their supporters with pride, reflecting on the years of dedication that led up to that moment.

On Jan. 26 in the PAC., the marching band received gold medals for their fourth win at the State 5A UIL competition.

Senior and drum major Brandon Grasty said that he felt a wave of emotions when he was receiving his medal. He reflected on the amount of time and effort that he put in order to get the achievement and recognition that he has today. 

“I was beyond excited that I was able to witness this moment, as the marching band has been a huge part of my life,” Grasty said. “I feel so proud and happy that my fellow band members were able to experience this moment, as it is a moment that each and every one of us will never forget for the rest of our lives.” 

One of the band directors, Christopher Yee, LISD Fine Arts Director, Peter Warshaw and Principal John Sloan spoke at the ceremony, where they praised the band members for their achievements. At the ceremony, they thanked all the people that helped them along the way and watched a video of their run at UIL state. The Head Band Director, Kendall Santos, the Drumline Director, Roland Chavez, and the Color Guard Director, Casey Kunze awarded medals to the band members.

“I felt really nostalgic when I was watching the video,” junior Color Guard member Hope Gibbs said. “I was kind of crying, to be honest. Those memories are never going to leave me. It’s such an incredible experience to see a project that you worked your butt off for four months on up on the big screen.”

As a drum major, Grasty  said that the drum major team is the face of the band and whatever they do as a team, reflects on the band as a whole. He said that he felt that the pressure was on, especially as a drum major, he felt a heavyweight on his shoulder to make the team win. 

“Before our season began in the summer, people already had doubts that we could earn our position of first place for the fourth time in a row, but I wasn’t worried,” Grasty said. “As long as we kept rehearsing in an effective manner, I believed there was nothing that could stop us.” 

When they actually announced us as first place, it made me tear up because I was so overwhelmed with love for my team, and I was so excited to keep the winning tradition going. I knew we were going to win because of the work that was being put into the show behind the scenes. Being on a team that won state four times comes with a sense of responsibility to uphold the hardworking legacy.”

— Rylynn Klatt

The school was neck and neck with Leander and Rouse all season, so according to junior saxophone player, Caleb Taylor, the marching band team was not certain they had it in the bag. 

“It was super rewarding and gratifying to win, and it’s an experience I’ll never forget,” Taylor said. “A big thing our directors impress on us is that regardless of our competitive history, our job is to honor our school and all the people who’ve come before us, so we usually have a healthy amount of pressure on us.”

After many years of being in band, Grasty said that he misses being under the lights. According to Grasty, he couldn’t keep his composure and started to tear up because state was very special to him especially because he is a senior and this was his last Marching Band UIL. 

“Being part of the Cedar Park Band taught me a lot of morals and values, but one (of the many) that will stick with me forever is ‘as soon as you think you’ve won, you’ve already lost,’” Grasty said. “With our sister LISD schools moving onto state with us (Leander and Rouse), we knew we had to keep pushing to the finish until we heard the announcer state our school’s name and title us the four time 5A UIL state marching band champions.” 

No matter how many hardships Grasty faced, he still found enjoyment within the hurdles that came across his path. 

“Even if people complain about how hot it is or aren’t able to focus 110% of the time, everyone still knows that it’s going to be a fulfilling experience with all the memories we make,” Grasty said. “It’s just so impressive to move and play, but getting there is the fun part.”

On the other hand, junior French horn player Rylynn Klatt had different expectations as a newcomer. This was Klatt’s first year competing for state, so she said she had no idea what to expect. 

“When they called second place, all I could do was smile because I was so proud of what we as a team had achieved,” Klatt said. “When they actually announced us as first place, it made me tear up because I was so overwhelmed with love for my team, and I was so excited to keep the winning tradition going. I knew we were going to win because of the work that was being put into the show behind the scenes. Being on a team that won state four times comes with a sense of responsibility to uphold the hardworking legacy. I hope to continue the winning tradition.”

All the hours on the field in the beating sun and the long practices were worth it, according to sophomore oboe player Madison Cua. She didn’t know what to expect, but the competitions leading up to state finals were going well for them and they were all excited to win once again. Cua said the morale was high and there was a feeling of promise among them all.

“I do feel pressure to keep the legacy of the band for future years to come,” Cua said. “I was a sophomore this state year, so my efforts towards the band were focused on doing my best to have a positive influence in the program and inspiring others to do the same. Everyone was putting all they had in practice and our performances, and ultimately it paid off.”

With her sole focus entirely on marching band competing in state, she looked most forward to the big moments during performances and warm-ups.

“It’s when we are all blasting and the stadium fills with the ringing and resonant sound of the band,” Cua said. “In warm-up, it feels even better because we are confined to a smaller space. Our counts and sounds bounce against the walls, the band directors are hyping us up, people are tuning, soloists are doing a final rehearsal, and our movements are in such unison it’s electrifying. I love it.”

Cua has the chance to be in the marching band for yet another year, and she hopes to continue their winning streak and win first place once again this coming year.

“Bonding time is something I’ll miss,” Cua said. “Once the seniors graduate, it will never be the same group of people. Bus rides, football games and the feeling of playing and marching on the field together as a family is irreplaceable. I miss those times together, but I’m excited for next year.”