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Rubisco last won the day on May 21

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  1. He sounded so confident, too! Hahaha. Speaking of Westfield, alas, I gave up on them a long time ago. Still decent enough, but obviously not the program I knew. I focus my attention on other Houston groups now. Come on, Seven Lakes and Cypress Woods! Hahaha. Actually, I think the top spot at the North Houston BOA regional may be open this year with the changes happening at TWHS. Maybe the other Houston regional, too, but Reagan has weathered their director change pretty well and is still clearly a national finalist quality band.
  2. Have you heard those 4As yet? I'm definitely interested. Obviously I've been focusing on 6A, without much luck.
  3. The Tree of Life is a great Terrence Malick film, if it's inspired at all by that! Really beautiful cinematography and deeply philosophical.
  4. "Any color in the sound." Well now that's a clear exaggeration. Also, Eddie Green's influence extends well beyond the Houston area. I'm not convinced the purported "boring"-ness of those Houston bands could be ascribed to a misinterpretation of his philosophies. Maybe more just a general fear of blowing past the point of good, characteristic sounds, which isn't always a bad fear to have. 🤷‍♂️
  5. Cute! If only other administrators could see the value of music education...
  6. For me in recent-ish years, it has usually been the Blue Devils that are my favorite. That design team just gets it. But when it's not the Devils, it's usually Bloo. Both seem to have fresh ideas that are matched by high production values and performance, and they don't shy away from challenging the audience. BD's 2012 show is one that comes to mind. I recall thinking I might even reward it a perfect VGE score, which I was pleasantly surprised to find out they actually did end up getting in DCI finals. Definitely more of a judge favorite than a fan favorite though, like a lot of their shows. Bloo definitely does a better job connecting with the audience. I just don't know if I can take another 60s rock show!
  7. Here's an excellent performance of In Storm and Sunshine from Vista Ridge's Wind Ensemble! https://youtu.be/jHM_GEGoKG0
  8. 😂 🎶 Cal-i-foorniaaaaa! 🎶 Hey, perhaps The Cadets will make a comeback with it! I don't follow DCI as closely as I used to, but I don't think they've placed quite as well in recent years.
  9. Truer words have never been spoken. Unfortunately, the old canard of the technically proficient but emotionally insipid Texas concert band persists even today. Mind you, many of the same people leveling that criticism would be unable to distinguish such a thing in a blind listening test. And speaking of the late Mr. Green and his huge influence on the best Texas bands, I don't know how you could listen to those old Lake Highlands recordings from the 70s, for example, and not think they are outstanding in every single way.
  10. Cedar Park's show sounds interesting. I thought last year was a step in the right direction design-wise, so we'll see if they take it even further this year. 👍
  11. Sorry, I was referring to band students. You appear to be including string players in your orchestra counts. Hebron had 1 Piccolo, 3 Flutes, 3 Bb Clarinets, 1 Bass Clarinet, 1 Contrabass Clarinet, 1 Oboe, 1 Alto Sax, 5(!) Trumpets, 1 French Horn, 2 Trombones, 1 Euphonium, 2 Tubas, and 2 Percussion make State this year.
  12. I know it's not really relevant this year, but here's the always fantastic Henry Middle School Honor Band. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dxAYUakBA3g It's like exploring a cave in a JRPG!
  13. Oh look, I actually found some performances! This North Texas pre-UIL collection has a couple of pieces from both Flower Mound and Coppell. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=69WvXKfLt-I Outstanding music making from both. The quality of the sound from these top Texas groups is always so impressive. So warm and calm and controlled. Mostly great intonation, too, with some minor slip ups. Incredible full brass moments from FloMo in Symphony No. 3. Technique does get a little bogged down at times. Try to keep all those tricky moving passages in the woodwinds lighter and clearer. The first part of Coppell's Hindemith floored me. It really reminded me of my favorite Tokyo Kosei recording of that piece. The music is heavy with counterpoint, but they manage to keep our ears focused on the most important melodic lines. That said, I think the 2nd and 3rd movements are rushed to the point that the 2nd movement lacks a bit of musicality to my ears (really, imagine sitting in a dark lounge in the 1920s with smoke swirling around your head -- that's the vibe, slower and more easy-going) and the insane technique in the 3rd gets a little dirty at times. It's just so fast. Of course, at this level, I'm being very nitpicky. If you dropped either group into probably any other state, they'd steamroll over the competition.
  14. I'm not sure. I guess the one show that gave me chills the first time I saw it was Kiski Area's. It seemed to take its inspiration from Spielberg's much maligned Hook movie, with the echoes of "will you take me home" at the end. The show was another case of me jumping around to different parts of the Flo stream and accidentally landing on a mysterious show and knowing immediately it was going to win the contest in its class. The way the show built suspense was really great, with the music perfectly building to the final moment when the girl jumps out the window. I got goosebumps the first time I saw that -- not at all like the hammy, unintentionally campy ending to Bishop Kearney's Sybil show. ("Staaaahp! Staaaaaahp!!!" 😄) And Kiski nailed their performance every time I saw them. It was a strange and, to echo other comments, refreshingly unsentimental show, given the Peter Pan inspiration. In the tippy top class of IW, honestly, there wasn't much that was super memorable for me. The top 3 shows lacked strong themes and seemed more like (admittedly impressive) skills showcases. And the ones that did have clear themes didn't inspire me much with their artistry. The joker one is a good example. Like, it's a fun show, and the audience loved it, but for me it was like watching what Halloween has been like every year since the release of The Dark Knight in 2008. Like, I've seen this before way too much. 😄 Robbins was one of the founders of that group with her friends. Actually, based on the year given in that insta video, Code Black won IO in their very first year of existence in 2007 with a 98.5, and then made world class finals the next year. That's super impressive for a home-grown group, and shows great initiative and talent. The ending of that 2007 show with the forward push with the unison yellow flags still gives me goosebumps!
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