SFA was clearly the worst band in finals. I was not impressed with their preliminary performance, and I personally believe McNeil, Brazoswood, or Friendswood were more worthy of the spot.
1) 81.85 - The Woodlands
2) 77.90 - Ronald Reagan
3) 77.60 - Cedar Park
4) 76.20 - Hendrickson
5) 75.75 - Cedar Ridge
6) 75.70 - Pflugerville
7) 73.75 - Winston Churchill
8) 73.15 - Dripping Springs
9) 72.90 - Stephen F. Austin
10) 72.50 - The Woodlands College Park
11) 71.45 - Friendswood
12) 71.10 - Brazoswood
13) 70.85 - Cy-Fair
14) 70.65 - Clear Brook
15) 70.00 - James E. Taylor
16) 69.40 - McNeil
17) 68.50 - Oak Ridge
18) 67.75 - Seven Lakes
19) 67.65 - Morton Ranch
20) 66.25 - Kempner
21) 66.00 - Waller
22) 65.20 - Clear Falls
23) 64.15 - William B. Travis
24) 61.40 - Alvin
25) 59.95 - J. Frank Dobie
26) 57.75 - Texas City
27) 57.30 - La Grange
I was there for all of finals and some of prelims. During finals, I decided to actually write down my own rankings of the bands for once. I did so mostly based on music GE, which seemed like the most natural fit for me. Here were my placements:
1st The Woodlands
2nd Ronald Reagan
3rd Cedar Ridge
4th Cedar Park
8th The Woodlands College Park
9th Dripping Springs
10th Stephen F. Austin
Coincidentally, I had a hell of a time ranking 6-8. The rest were a little bit easier. I'm pretty pleased with myself!
Cedar Ridge was just jaw-dropping. This is what I love about Texas. Every other year there's some new band emerging that poses a threat to the established order. This year it was CR. So many goosebump moments. I love love love the opening with (I think) the James Horner music. It's whatever LD Bell played during their ballad in 2006.
SFA was a group I thought was better in prelims. Or maybe I just didn't recognize some of the issues. They really pushed their sound beyond the point of good tone quality tonight, and it probably hurt their score. It wasn't particularly clean either, which is shocking for a group that is usually so on point. But, we have to remember, they've taken some pretty big hits recently. Regardless of the placement, they handled things well.
Reagan. Tenth at Arlington? Really? Based on the group I saw tonight, I can't even fathom how that was possible. I thought it was a solid second place. No reputation judging at play, that's for sure. Could it have been the visual dirt at Arlington? I don't know, but musically they were clearly a superior group. They need to keep this up for nationals.
Aaaaand The Woodlands. Well, it was a long road guys, but you finally did it. 10 years after your first national finals placement in 2002, you win your first regional, and my oh my was it glorious. Just some really stellar playing. So elegantly-designed. Absolutely chilling in parts, even with the narration! That last stretch in the closer where you reintroduced The Promise of Living (after playing some very difficult music from David Diamond's Second Symphony) was just unreal. It was so beautiful. I've gotta say, keep it up, and you might find yourself a super regional champion. I definitely think this show could top Marcus later in the season. I have no idea about Bell, obviously.
Overall, I just really enjoyed myself. Was this supposed to be the weaker of the two early Texas regionals? Being there in person, I didn't think that showed at all. Congratulations to all!
With the original line up and the absence of Marcus, Bell, CTJ, Spring, etc., I thought that BOA Houston was going to be not as exciting of a contest as usual. However, these results are very surprising!
Everyone expected Woodlands to be on top. I expected Cedar Park and Reagan to fill out the top 3 but I didn't expect Reagan to get ahead of Cedar Park, which is a happy surprise considering that they're going to Grand Nats this year. 4th, 5th, and 6th were a total shock! I don't think many expected those bands to place so high, but all of the bands that are at the top every year have to start somewhere, right? Kudos to Cedar Ridge, Hendrickson, and College Park! No offense, but I expected to Pflugerville and Churchill to be about where they were this year, but at least Pflugerville got to perform in finals this year unlike last year's judging error! I'm somewhat surprised that Dripping Springs placed low because even though they are a more UIL-skewed band, they're still a top notch band. That just shows that walking the line between BOA and UIL in Texas isn't easy. The other shock tonight was SFA. Wow. I guess that's what happens when you lose all of the directors and bring in new ones. Hopefully they won't be in this lower point for long and will come back in the years to come.
And to the ones saying that other bands who didn't make finals deserved a finals spot, remember that according to the judges, SFA DID deserve that spot. Competition in our art isn't like other sports like football or something because each show is very different and it's not one team versus another team, so comparing so many bands for a competition isn't the easiest task in the world. I believe that the judges do their best to fairly compare each show and do a great job at it, so sometimes the results just are what they are. I felt the same way last year at Grand Nats when Spring ended up 13th at Semi-Finals, which was just one place away from finals.
But anyway, congrats to all of the bands at finals, and to every band that competed today! This ended up being a very surprising contest! Congrats to the Woodlands and to everyone else! Boy, I can't wait until San Antonio!
SFA has had alot of adversity come their way. First having a whole new staff and having problems with the drill writing that resulted in them getting the drill late. They finished learning drill to the show last saturday. Yes on paper it seems like they should not have had a chance at making finals but being from that band, I know they worked tirelessly to make finals.
-Band camp started a week later than everyone else with NO directors at all!!! Alumni and student led.
-They finally got a director the 2nd week of band camp (other school's 3rd week).
-The director has no assistant(s)
-The band finally got music their 3rd week of band camp (they were previously left with NO music OR drill!)
-Because music was late, drill was also late, then had to be rewritten in a few spots
-Many players quit before the season even started because of having no directors. A few have since come back though.
-How would any band feel knowing that their staff left them and they didn't even have a show? They probably dealt with a lot of uncertainty and doubt.
SFA has really been a cinderella story if you ask me. Congrats to them and every other finalist!