Top rating for band at UIL


Karen Saunders

Morton Band performs onstage for UIL competition.

Russell Hill, For The Tribe

Bands from around the region met in Denver City on Tuesday to compete in concert and sight-reading contests for UIL.  The Morton varsity band was among the group competing.

The concert competition consists of the band playing pieces they have been working on for several months and have previously performed in front of audiences.  The sight-reading contest, the more difficult of the two,  consists of the band being presented with music they have not seen and performing the piece on the spot.

This year, the band performed “Stratford March”, “Cloud Dancing” and “Wolsey’s Wilde” by Byrd/McGinty for their concert competition.  The band received a rating of 3 or “good” for this portion of their performance.

Junior Karina Lujan believes that the band performed better than their rating of 3 indicates.

“We have almost half the band that are 8th graders in their first year of playing,” Lujan said. “The UIL contest does not really take into consideration that the small schools have so many young first-year members with little experience.”

According to senior Cheyenne Barnes, there were some other factors that detracted from the band’s performance in the concert portion.

“The stage setting was strange, different from anyplace we have performed before,” Barnes said.  “One trumpet was set out to the side and caused it to blare out over the band.  And they use some really strange blue and purple lighting that made it difficult to read our music.”

Senior Andrew George felt confident in the concert competition.

I have been in the band for five years, since 8th grade,” George said.  “And we have worked on those pieces and performed a number of times before now.”

Lujan, Barnes, and George have all been band members at Morton since the 8th grade.

In the sight-reading competition, the band earned a rating of 1 or “Superior”, the highest rating possible.  This was the first 1 in sight-reading in over 20 years for the school.

“It was really exciting to earn the 1 rating in sight-reading,” Barnes said.  “It has been over two decades since the band has achieved that rating.”

It was a special moment for George as well.

“We made a 1 rating in concert during my sophomore year,” George said.  “But I have not heard of when we ever made a 1 in sight-reading.”

Band Director Elaine Truitt says it has been a difficult year but is optimistic about the future of the band.

“We have all worked hard and our music has progressed quite a bit,” Truitt said. “I feel like the younger students are really stepping up to fill some really big shoes left by our seniors.”

Truitt believes that the band students have gone above and beyond this year.

“Yes between lockdowns and a very unpredictable schedule,” Tuitt said,  “every time the band was asked to show up they showed up.”

Truitt believes that be best is yet to come for the Morton Band.

“Students at Morton are in the process of building something great and the rating they received in sight-reading (1, SUPERIOR) indicates they are succeeding,” Truitt said.  “Once you’ve built a strong organization, it is easier to maintain, but the process of building it takes time and grit. These students have what it takes to do just that.”