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LKendrick

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LKendrick last won the day on June 16

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  1. San Antonio in 2017 was my first BOA experience and first time seeing some of the top tier bands live (had just been to regional stuff up in the panhandle prior to that). Hebron came on in prelims and good lord. I knew on video they sounded incredible and that they were one of the better playing bands, but I wasn't ready for the volume they had and the clarity of everything they did. The opening minutes of that show with the woodwinds multiple tonguing and their mellos just tearing it up was pretty overwhelming. That whole weekend was mind blowing, definitely still my favorite set of shows top to bottom of the three years I've gone live and the ~10 years of following the activity. Very eye opening to what high school kids are capable of.
  2. Winston Churchill was fantastic, really pretty and phenomenally executed show. SUPER tight across the board performance wise. I think Bryan has a show more aimed at peaking in Dayton, but that's certainly not to take away from WC. Clearly the top 2 in that class. Really excited to catch both among many others in a few weeks at the Southwest Power Regional.
  3. Agreed on Bryan. They're gonna do really well in Dayton.
  4. I’m glad Tascosa moved down, they were having to drive 200 miles round trip minimum for all their away games, Frenship in Lubbock was the closest 6A and then the Permian basin schools and Abilene. I’m excited about there being 3 potential advancers, this contest had the top 3 separated by 1 ordinal last time, Permian tied the 2nd place band in prelims and finals but lost the tie breaker and didn’t get to advance. As stated above, all 15 of these bands get 1s very consistently, so we should probably have 3 advance. The makeup here has changed a lot over the years with the Keller/Fort Worth schools getting removed, then the zones experiment in 2014, and the resurgence of Permian as a state contender. El Paso Coronado has a job listing on TMEA for head director so that’ll mix things up. Eastlake is coming off a strong season, they’ll do very well visually. Pebble Hills is stronger every year, they’ll do really well. Permian has been pretty consistent over the last 4 seasons, though their finish in Duncanville this fall has me excited for what they could do next year. Montwood, Frenship, Americas, etc. are all strong as well. Despite being only 15 bands, this should be fun to watch.
  5. I just got done with playing all the Dark Souls/Bloodborne games. Some fantastic music in there, especially in the latter. Will always want to hear more video game stuff on the field, there is some amazing stuff in there. These definitely stuck out to me:
  6. I loved that show, easily my favorite of theirs from a design perspective.
  7. Welp, have finally had a chance to rest and decompress after an amazing weekend. My thoughts here: http://www.txbands.com/forums/index.php?/topic/7550-thoughts-on-my-first-grand-nationals/
  8. Claudia Taylor Johnson - "The Circle of Life", 6th Place (93.25) Oh. My. God. This show was a party!!! I liked it in San Antonio, but they kicked up the energy ten notches since then and made some nice changes, the most obvious of which was the back and forth between the saxophone and trombone soloists who were just NAILS. The crowd reaction that got after that was incredible, and they still had three or four minutes of show left! I Just Can’t Wait to Be King was easily the heart of that show, and they made everyone fall in love with them. The energy that they perform their music and choreography with is second to none, they are performers in every sense of the word. They definitely saved their best performance of the season for finals too, they were on fire. Thank you for entertaining and blowing us all away, it was incredible. Leander - "Radioactive", 5th Place (94.3) This is easily my favorite Leander show ever, they were so masterful at building tension and releasing it throughout that show, and the closer was the prime example of that in the show. As soon as that countdown timer hit zero and the Oppenheimer quote played they blew the house down. That was a FINALE. And that was all courtesy of the performers, a show is only as good as the kids performing it and they sold it. Amazing musical performance from them, that show is HARD and they had some of the best moments I’ve ever heard from them over the weekend. I hope they keep up these kinds of shows, because it was a blast. Carmel - "Eternal Beloved", 4th Place (94.575) Finally got to see Carmel live! Even if it wasn’t a four peat for them I can still see why they were so dominant, they do so many things well musically and visually. Their musicality is breathtaking at times, some sublime entrances, releases, builds, etc. Thought this show really came together at GN, I LOVE the front half of the show especially. Guard is still going strong, ESPECIALLY that male featured performer, he’s incredible. And shout out to that soloist, it’s not easy carrying that much of the show on your back, and finals was easily the best performance of that I heard, so great job! Hebron - "Among the Stars", 3rd Place/Music (95.55) Full honesty time, when I saw this show live the first time in Duncanville on the 26th of October, I didn’t think they could clean it. Hebron has some of the best kids on the planet but this show was HARD HARD HARD, closer especially. Even in San Antonio I was seeing progress but not sure if it would be able to peak. Well, GN finals happened, and it did. Far and away their best performance of the season. They reached for the stars on this one, one of the hardest HS shows I’ve ever seen. They really kicked up the visual difficulty this year in addition to the bonkers musical stuff as well, great job there. Loved the way Impossible Dream was woven throughout and finally shined in the closer, and as always amazing job by their soloists. Avon - "unBaroquen", 2nd Place/Visual (96.7) After prelims, I didn’t think this was getting beat. This show was seamless perfection, every single thing in there like the eight perfect notes was perfectly placed and performed. Very tight musical performance, their trumpet section especially was fantastic. But visually, oh man. Best high school colorguard I have ever seen, by a lot. The tosses, clarity, energy, etc. was just all top tier. If there was a guard caption, this would surely win it. And they are running that whole show and making it look effortless, I’d make it about a minute into that show and pass out. They are amazing. I’ve also heard how they kick things up on finals night, and boy did they do it, that performance was something special. Part of me is shocked that didn’t win, but when I watched who did, it’s just a testament to how amazing this season was. Vandegrift - "Aria, Queen of the Night", 1st Place/General Effect (97.175) Pure. That’s the word that comes to mind. If you take away the mostly aesthetic props this show was just a band marching and playing at the top tier. I’ll gush about music in a second but they can MARCH. Individual technique was sublime and their form control was about as good as I’ve seen in the HS world. And that dance, team, couldn’t think of a better theme for them to encapsulate. The way this band plays is just everything I want in a band. The tone, alignment, clarity, and just everything about how they play is jaw dropping. And then they shape, phrase, and interpret that playing better than anyone else in my eyes. Loved their interpretation of the Lacrimosa ballad, there was an attitude to it that was aided so well by their incredible and musical drumline and that top tier trombone soloist, that arrival in the ballad was easily one of the better constructed and executed moments of the season. I love props and electronics and costuming when they’re used right, but I am glad this show won. Huge congratulations on an incredible first attendance to GN, I certainly hope it’s not the last. All in all an amazing weekend, the bands, the parents, the environment, the performances, and the experience was incredible to be a part of. I am already planning on going in 2020, there is a lot said on the comparison between GN and San Antonio, and having done both I can say you will get very different experiences that are both equally special, but there is just something about GN that felt special. So glad I got to experience it with some amazing people too, feel so fortunate to be able to contribute to the live blog and work alongside that group. What an amazing way to conclude an amazing 2019 marching season, already excited for 2020!
  9. Well, I finally made it up to Indianapolis after three years of doing BOA San Antonio and other events. It was a blast, if you haven't went before I'd highly recommend going! The four things that stood out the most for me were: - The variety of styles and approaches was really cool to see, I love Texas to death but it was really cool to see how other states approach the activity as well. What you saw from Ayala was totally different than Vandegrift which was totally different from Lawrence Township, etc. - The environment is just so cool, that stadium is definitely built for the activity and just feels......special. There's just something about that stage and field that is just so exciting. - The exhibition bands were all amazing, JSU, A&M Commerce, Missouri, and UNA were so wildly entertaining to watch. Was down low for JSU specifically, and that was an EXPERIENCE. If you have a chance to see them live, do it. You won't regret it. - Team Texas. Your camaraderie, energy, class, and just way you did what you did was top tier. The way you performed, interacted with each other and other bands, and came together as a family warmed my heart so much. Loved getting to drop by the meetup after semifinals, it was so cool to finally put some names with some faces this year! I really hope this continues for years and years to come, because it made for a special experience. Before I break down finals I want to give a shout out to Estill County and Lawrence Township, those were two shows that I HIGHLY enjoyed in semifinals. Estill County was one of the amazing KY A bands, their power for their size and very thoughtful show blew me away. When I realized that it was not about trains, but crossing over to the other side, I am using my best terminology here, shook. Was really cool seeing not only a first time GN attendee but BOA competitor do so well this season. Also, Lawrence Township. Their approach and identity that they have formed the last few years is such a breath of fresh air, it just feels so authentic. So glad they had their best finish in a few years and placed top twelve in music, they sounded amazing. Ayala - "Wonderland", 12th Place (88.1) Dark and light shows have become a big cliche in the marching band world, I see countless versions of that show every season, but Ayala this year gave such a refreshing take on it. The way the dark creeps in and out and back in again was so subtlety and tastefully done in a way that felt new, that ending with the black fabric creeping back in after getting vanquished in the ballad and closer gave me goosebumps. Really aggressive music performance, especially from their world class percussion section. And that guard, always a treat, the rifle work especially was top notch. This was probably in my top tier of favorite shows, just really fresh. Union - "The Orchestra's Guide to The Young Person", 11th Place (88.275) Very cool introduction on the chairs at the beginning of the show, they weren't marching but they were doing some very intricate foot and body work which is not easy at all. Very interesting interpretations of "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" and "Enigma Variations", thought the ballad was especially nice. Also really enjoyed the mixing of concert elements with marching ones, the drum feature where the snare drum player was mimicking along with the snareline was cool. Homestead - "The Reclamation Project", 10th Place (89.8) What a pretty show from them this year, loved the way they transformed the field from the front back of the show to the last half, I especially though the stylized Colts logo was really cute as well as the flower made up of the guard equipment in the ballad. They always have incredibly exposed and difficulty music books, and this year was no different, very nice job pulling that off. Round Rock - "A Simple Gesture", 9th Place (90.425) Round Rock’s growth over the season was great, this was definitely their strongest product by the end in a few years. Music performance especially really shined, their ensemble and section sounds were so warm, lush, and balanced and the music book played to that strength so well. Loved La Vie en Rose and the closer especially. And percussion, wow. Always a strength for them. And yes, those uniforms are still very cool. The Woodlands - "On the Town", 8th Place (91.2) Wow, what a finals run from them, EASILY their best of the season! The character these kids were given and the way they put it on was easily a highlight of the season for me, they totally made you believe you were in mid 20th century New York City. What a fun show, and what a HARD show, so much difficult choreo, drill, and music throughout the whole show that they tackled really well. Musically they had SO many fantastic soloists in small ensembles that not only played well, but played with a ton of attitude too. Bernstein fits them so well, and so did a super fun and lighthearted show. Not sure how many combos like that are out there but they should absolutely explore that again. William Mason - "Beneath the Surface" - 8th Place (91.425) We go from fun to very creepy and environmental, what an interesting show from William Mason this year. Can’t go without mentioning the aesthetic of this show first, it is striking. Pink and yellow with a very graphic print gave this show a very distinct look. Loved the preshow from the get go with all the eerie subterranean sounds as the Hindemith is introduced by a flute soloist. Very tight performance across all captions from them over the weekend, some really nice moments throughout. Glad they found their footing again last year and kept that going this year! Continued on my next post so I could get all the images in...
  10. Also love the Oppenheimer quote that Leander uses going into their ending, it's short but perfectly placed.
  11. Blue Knights in 2014 is my gold stand for narration done right in a marching ensemble setting. Whoever recorded it sounds authentic, the material they pulled from for it is really well written, and the implementation in the show is enhancing without getting in the way of the music. That show was emotionally captivating and fully aided by the narration, and I think if it was gone the show would lose a big chunk of what made it special. It's really hard to do it right, especially if you do it live. I thought Burleson Centennial did a nice job this year.
  12. Great job to everyone, but man. Mineola. They good. Really good. Really really good.
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