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  1. Lots to watch out for... 6A Willis-Area finalist threat Tomball-Could be a shocker in 6A Tomball Memorial The Woodlands-As always North Shore-Great band and always does well at UIL Westfield (Coming back up FAST) Bridgeland-Huge surprise this year! 5A Porter-They have become a force and will remain so Galena Park-I hear they will grow to be even larger next year Magnolia-Probably not happy with this years results and will be back with a vengeance next year Foster-Fantastic year and will build on it Waller-Fantastic this past year at Area Barbers Hill-They keep getting better and bigger
  2. North Houston will be a bit different too. Tomball and Willis have moved up to 6A and Lumberton is back in 5A. This means we will see even more new faces at the 5A SMC from Houston in 2 years I bet. Something tells me the Houston area may be recombined like it was in 2017 for 5A. This gives Galena Park, Porter, Lumberton, Crosby, and College Station a pretty clear path for a fight to the SMC with room for Magnolia, Magnolia West and some new comers to be area Finalists next go around. With the explosive growth of each of these programs I suspect Houston area schools that are not Friendswood in 5A will start to move up a bit.
  3. Galena Park absolutely should have advanced this year. It was such a shocker they didn't.
  4. That contest was CRAZY! I too am shocked Galena Park didn't make it. They were so good and were amazing in finals as well. I guarantee you they will be back with a vengeance in two years. Porter's finals run was just stunning. I knew it would be close between them and the other advancers once they were done. Willis, that was unexpected. They came up from behind. I thought Tomball had it! I am not really feeling good about the judging at this contest. I'm not saying the three that advanced didn't deserve it, but Galena Park should have advanced to state. Sadly, it just didn't work out. The state contest is less than with out that amazing show being there. That was an amazing contest yesterday. Best of luck to our advancers!
  5. Houston Area guy here! I am in LOVE with Porter's Swan Lake and Equus show. Who ever decided to roll those two works together is a genius. It works so well. I foresee them headed to San Antonio again. They move with absolute grace and are really the total package. A close second, and sometimes first, is Galena Park HS. They are playing music that you only hear bands in other areas of the state playing. Mahler 2 and Shostakovich 11 with Alanis Morissette's Uninvited really do work together. Both of these bands make bold sounds that I find refreshing and strangely reminiscent of Houston's glory years in the 90's. I hear Bob Chreste is working with both groups which would explain the sounds! However, my favorite show of the entire year thus far is Vandegrift. They are going to do amazing things at nationals. I just may make my way up there to see how it all goes.
  6. I bet Galena Park and Porter will advance to State. Tomball or Magnolia will take the third spot. GP and Porter are far stronger than people realize. You will be shocked at Galena Park's rendition of Mahler 2 and Porter's risk taking sound quality. I just don't see any other bands capturing the audience and judges attention the way GP and Porter do. Both bands are very clean and will do very well on the UIL sheet. I would even say one of them have a shot at state finals. Albeit a bottom 3 spot, but both of these bands are that good now. If they don't make it this time I find it hard not to imagine one of them contending for a finals spot in 2021 as both bands are going to continue to grow in number. Both GP and Porter were less than 100 members 4 years ago and now both are pushing 200+. I can see how people forget either of these bands exist, especially Galena Park who didn't even make area finals in 2017. I personally cannot wait for the Galena Park mega crescendo from nothing into a Mahler 2 explosion on Saturday. I have been dying to experience that again since I saw them at Katy and Galena Park Marching Festival. It reminds me so much of the teeth knocking hit from North Shore's show last year. I also cannot wait for the Porter wall of sound in Swan Lake. It is just stunning. I also hope that clarinet soloists kills it! He/She is a great player. I also love their visual program. I am also very interested to see how College Station HS will fit into all of this. I know they will be great, but this is the first time this band has faced Galena Park, Porter, Willis and Tomball at the same contest. Also, we cannot forget Grand Oaks and Crosby. Both bands have potential to pull an upset! Those poor judges-I do not envy them! It will be a very tough call. I have lived in Houston for a long time and this area used to have not as good of band programs. I still cannot believe my neck of the woods has bands that are even in the conversation at all. Friendswood used to be the steamroller everyone didn't even bother trying to touch. The directors at each of these schools are all fairly new to the game and all of them have turned their programs into monsters. I gotta hand it to the directors at Porter. When that school opened I thought there was zero hope and look at them now! You could say the same for Galena Park and Magnolia. Both programs have grown so fast from barely division one programs to the quality they are now over the last 2 years. (Although Galena Park went to state in 2009, but quickly fell off the radar) Again, I do not envy the judges in Area I. This Area is going to be far more competitive than the state realizes. If you are in town this weekend GO TO AREA I!!!
  7. Magnolia has a GREAT shot at finals and advancing! This year's edition is by far the best Magnolia band I've ever seen. It's a beautiful show and well designed!
  8. Here is how I see it. 1. Galena Park/Porter 2. Porter/Galena Park 3. Tomball 4. Magnolia 5. Grand Oaks 6. Crosby 7. College Station/A&M Consolidated ____________________________ 8. Magnolia West 9. Willis 10. Port Neches Groves This is based on contest results from UIL contests and not BOA style contests like LSP or Katy. Magnolia could catch Tomball, but I think Tomball makes the better ensemble sound. Galena Park and Porter are CLEAN-CLEAN-CLEAN. I'll give Galena Park the edge because their sound is starting to rival their sister school North Shore. However, it is really anyone in that top 4-5 bands that can pull it off. It is really going to come down to who has the best run in the moment. I predicted GP and Porter to go back and forth this year. It looks like that will be the case. I saw Willis and Magnolia West at Region 9 yesterday. Willis had a bad run facing the sun so I expect them to be in better shape Saturday morning. Magnolia West was a shocker. They have gotten better really fast. PNG usually always pulls off a top 10, but sadly this year will be top 7. There is a chance Crosby misses finals. They are half the size they were and the show is just not as good as they have been the past few years, but they are still quite good. College Station or A&M Consolidated will make finals, but not both. I think the top 4 are solid locks. Beyond that it is anyone's game for finals and the advancers. I am excited for this show!
  9. The Katy contest is on a totally different sheet and scoring criteria than UIL. I've seen every band in this area this year a few times. Galena Park designed their show around the UIL sheet and it looks like Porter did as well. What held Galena Park back at Katy was color guard visual design. Their guard was considerably weaker than all of the other finalists. I saw GP at UIL this past weekend and they are much improved from Katy right along with Porter. Magnolia is fantastic, but they do not have the musical design package that GP and Porter have. When you combine difficulty with a high level of performance those bands tend to win in the end. I wouldn't try to use Katy results for the area contest. At no point will the panel at area have the kind of scrutiny on a show in a way a BOA-ish sheet will have. When it comes to pure music performance I foresee Galena Park and Porter at the top this area with either of them on top. I'll give Galena Park the edge because their ensemble sound is pretty undeniable. It's going to be a crazy weekend in North Houston! It would not surprise me to see Galena Park, Porter, and Tomball as the advancers from this area. These three bands are doing exactly what UIL is asking for them to do. Magnolia could edge out Tomball in the clean department however.
  10. Actually, Galena Park won first place at the GPISD festival, but were not eligible for any awards since they were hosting. All but one judge had them in first place. Porter was second in the rankings (Which is awesome by the way). The way I see it, based on UIL contest results the three bands that will likely advance from area are Galena Park, Porter and Tomball. Willis and Magnolia are likely the next two possibilities and Crosby should do well. I suspect the results in prelims will not be the results in finals because every single one of these bands are incredible. I suspect one of them can make finals in the lower tier in at state. These Houston bands are starting to get really good really fast.
  11. I was at the Galena Park ISD Marching Band Festival on Saturday and got to see some of the top 5A bands in Area I/F. Porter-AMAZING! This is by far the best Porter band I have ever seen. They are so confident, poised, and really know their show quite well. The clarinet soloist in Equus was great, but sadly some electronic response issues got in the way. He/She handled it really well. The back drops they have are massive and help the band really look big. It looks like they are not done with their show just yet so I suspect they are going to have a late season surge. I really loved the music selection and expect great things from them in the end. WOW, just WOW! Swan Lake and Equus actually work quite well together. This band has grown and they make a big sound. I love the uniform and the confidence they exude. I thoroughly expect to see them at State again. Impressive! I think they still have parts to put on, but what they have so far was out of the world good. Willis-Also AMAZING! Their music is hard. I mean really hard. The drill is super clean and the concept is quite neat. They do have a lot of cleaning up to do, but they are going to be stunning in the end. I love the visual land scape they create with the tarps and the color guard is fun to watch. Once they get this thing clean they are going to be a huge threat to the area just as they were 2 years ago as a dominant force. They are so sophisticated and visually pretty. Philip Glass' music is just perfect for them along with what I think was Shostakovich 1? (Can anyone confirm?). The color guard does excellent work on the mats and the band moves so well individually that you can hardly see a difference. You can tell they are very well trained. This show is fun and if they do advance to state they will do very well. Shadow Creek-Do they have a senior class yet? This is a new school that split from Manvel HS in Alvin ISD. They have the total package. The uniform is COOL! The fire concept is so well put together. They have little volcanos that go off from time to time and were one of the cleanest bands visually of the day. They are very well trained and play with a very reserved, cool tone. I think they are going to grow into an amazing program very soon. Kingwood Park-They are using Rhapsody in Blue in ways I have not seen with the concept Twister, like literally the game of Twister. It is a ton of fun and the clarinet soloist is playing the day lights out of the solo. They got quite the crowd reaction from them. I had a ton of fun watching them. Barbers Hill-WOW! They hit the crowd with a WALL of sound on the Romeo and Juliet symphony. I really enjoyed how clean they were for this time of year. if they keep going we will see them at State again! Galena Park-I was beyond shocked when Galena Park got on the field. I knew they have grown, but WOW they have really grown. The show starts out with a voice over talking about how terrible the world has become. At least that's what I got out of it. Then out of now where comes the biggest explosion of sound I heard that day. I knew the second I heard it we were in for a treat. The band started the Mahler 2 Symphony so well. Then, before you even knew it, the band did this crescendo that I swear no one saw coming. LOUD! Then a horn rip! The crowd went nuts. This band never stops moving. They go and go and go! They do have a lot of cleaning and producing to go it looks like, but this show was by far the most entertaining of the day. The Shostakovich 11 ending is the best Shostakovich ending I've ever seen. The genius use of the purple fences during the Uninvited, by Alanis Morissette, really spoke volumes about the story they are telling this year. It is hauntingly beautiful. If this band gets any better we may be looking at a return to state for them. I've never seen a Galena Park band come out the gates swinging like this before. They mean business!
  12. I saw two Houston area bands in 5A at a few football games last week. Porter-The best I've ever seen them. They have size and great sounds. I love the musical selections. It's a much more mature approach and they are going to be very musical. They will contend for a state spot again I'm sure. They have a strong percussion section. Quite impressive. Galena Park-LOUD!!!! They never stop moving and are playing the daylights out of the Mahler Symphony. They aren't huge, but this is absolutely the largest they have ever been that I can remember. I saw their preview show a few weeks ago and was very impressed with them. They will be a dark horse for an area finals spot and could sneak into state. I will say their show is quite challenging which could hurt them in the cleanliness department, but then again easy doesn't win anymore. The Area contests in 5A this year in Houston will be the best they have ever been. There will be state worthy bands that are not going to make it. I have a feeling a Houston band will make finals at state. Everyone is far stronger this year than they have ever been. I can't wait to see Crosby, Willis, Shadow Creek and Friendswood. If Porter and Galena Park are any indication of the war we are about to see then this is going to be a very competitive year.
  13. The program and music are totally different. No Pink Floyd there! I bet it's a great program.
  14. Galena Park High School "Us and Them" Gustav Mahler-Symphony 2 Uninvited-Alanis Morrsette Dimitri Shostakovich-Symphony 11 This program is going to be stunning. I cannot wait to see the Houston 5A bands next year. So many up and comers on the way. From what I've been told the band will be the largest in the schools history.
  15. I saw them at the USBands show in New Caney. They were good! I hope that success continues. The 5A band scene is really taking off in Houston. I remember a time when each of these programs were consistent division 2 and 3 programs. Galena Park was getting 3's and 4's in the late 90's. Porter opened and struggled for a while. Willis as well. It is so cool to see the growth and improvement of each program over the last 8 or so years. Also, most of these schools are title-1 schools and yet are still successful. Some great teaching taking place! Also, Kingwood Park is another to watch out for.
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