Big Country marching bands face delayed competition season after UIL announcement

Local News

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – Band directors are adjusting competition plans following Tuesday’s UIL announcement which have pushed marching competitions back to December. Local music administrators say this could lead to reduced participation from bands.

Bands can begin their competition curriculum on September 7th with regional, area and state-level competitions set for December 2020 – exact dates have not yet been determined.

Abilene ISD’s Executive Director of Fine Arts Jay Lester says with competitions being pushed back so far into the year, some band directors might opt out of competing this season.

“The implication could be there aren’t as many schools that want to participate,” said Lester in a Zoom press conference with other AISD personnel including football coaches impacted by the day’s announcements.

Lester is also a member of the UIL committee that oversees competition in the region over West Texas, he says the committee is still considering how to proceed this year – their resolution will come after getting feedback from band directors.

“We’re sending out a survey and we’ll see how many directors would be interested in participating still,” said Lester.

2020 is an advancement competition year for classes 2A, 4A and 6A. The Rotan Yellowhammers do not fall into this category but would have competed in a non-advancing regional competition.

Rotan High School Band Director Jessica Watkins says her students plan to perform to the same high standard they always do, despite the change in the time of year they’d be competing in.

“The kids I have in band are there because they like it, they love to perform. I don’t see that being a hard thing for getting them to accomplish at a high level,” said Watkins.

Watkins says she and other directors are just trying to stay in step with changes set forth by their districts and governing bodies like the UIL. She says she’s waiting for the cue on when her band will be competing this year – if at all.

“If we get to go to UIL great but if we don’t we’ve still done what we need to do as a band,” said Watkins.

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