Unstoppable: Flower Mound Band goes undefeated, finishes season with first state championship.

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Unstoppable: Flower Mound Band goes undefeated, finishes season with first state championship.

John Knope

John Knope

John Knope

Annie Hollon, Staff Writer

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The Flower Mound band flew over the competition this season, going undefeated from their first competition in the Birdville Marching Festival to the UIL 6A State Championship. Their show, Leonardo’s Dream, was premised around the writing in the Da Vinci Codex and told the story of the journey taken by Leonardo to achieve flight.

“The show is about Da Vinci and the creation of his flying machine,”sophomore Jillian Risberg said. “But it’s [about] more than just him, because it’s a journey from failure to success to flight.”

Work on the show began before school even started, students learning the music, choreography, and drill in early August during band camp. Rehearsals continued through the school year, eight hours dispersed throughout the school week and football games allowing for performance opportunities before competitions. But the show goes beyond just being a half time performance, especially for the members involved.

“I feel like most of the student body doesn’t understand what this program truly works for because they’ve never been in our shoes,” senior Nicole Zhang said. “It’s like this for every activity in our school; you never truly understand unless you’ve been involved in it.”

Competition days were amongst the only days the band got to present the show in full, with the metal frames transformed into mountains, the screens mounted on the props on the back sideline, and the performers filling the field in the cloud print uniform jackets and white pants, birds adorning the heads of the high brass section. With an incredibly jam-packed program, both visually and musically, reactions from audiences at competitions grew louder and more enthusiastic over time, driving members of the program to keep pushing through the season as the effort put into strenuous rehearsals began to pay off.

“It was really exciting because we spent so much time practicing the show that people who appreciate it and understand what we’re doing finally see it,” senior Robbie Fuentes said.

Winning the Birdville Marching Festival was only the start of what would become many victorious performances as the season progressed and the level of competition grew more challenging. Each competition allowed for more people to gain access to performances, from being there in person to renting live streams of the event, as thousands of people anticipated Flower Mound’s performance. With so many trained eyes on the group, it’d be easy to think that pressure sets in on the performers to fulfill expectations, but the opposite is true for several students, including junior Chelsea Yap.

“It’s weird because I hate standing in front of the class and speaking but I’m completely fine with being in front of thousands of people performing a show,” Chelsea said.

Success followed the band across Texas as they swept the captions at the Bands of America Plano Regional, a #1 rating at the UIL Region competition, and advanced to the UIL 6A State Championship with a first place finish at the UIL 6A Area C Competition. Seniors in the band program recognised that being able to have a season full of success didn’t come easily, their freshman year being a strong indicator on the amount of progress the program has made in such a small window of time.

“It’s crazy that freshman year we didn’t even make finals and this year we swept [the captions],” senior Jacob Hochfelder said.  

Heading into the final stretch of their competition season in San Antonio, rehearsal continued into the highly anticipated Bands of America Super Regional and the UIL 6A State Championship. Those final performances marked the end of an historic season, the band winning first place at the BOA event for the second year in a row, taking all of the captions and the school’s first marching championship in their second time at the state level.

Emotions ran high amongst all members following the awards ceremony and final performance, some leaving their high school marching careers with a record setting season, others only beginning their time in the program as it continues to grow and develop in the coming years.

“I remember crying throughout the [final] performance and that towards the end I couldn’t even see the podium through my tears and didn’t know where the actual steps were in order to get off without falling,” Nicole said. “It was such an incredibly humbling and emotional experience for us just to be there and I will forever remember that moment.”

For the senior class, the show means more than just Da Vinci’s ambition and his journey. Some see it as a reflection of the last four years of the program.

Leonardo’s Dream is like a metaphor for our marching career,” senior Abbie Ruesy said. “We saw this design of artwork, so we tried it with FloModern and failed. For the past two years, we’ve begun to build this machine of artwork, and this year, [we finally took flight].”

As for those who have time left with the program, their sights are set on continuing to improve themselves and teaching others what they’ve learned since beginning.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the freshman shine and grow as people and musicians,” Jillian said. “I’m also really interested to see how we could top this, because we just seem to be getting better and better.”birb
John Knope

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Unstoppable: Flower Mound Band goes undefeated, finishes season with first state championship.