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Kennedale
Saturday, December 5, 2020

Lucky sevens, Wildcat Band is rolling for a top 5 finish at state

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The Kennedale Marching Wildcat Band has the opportunity for state level competition every other year. Over the last 14 years, Kennedale has had 7 tries and each time has made the cut, 7 for 7. The fact that Kennedale has made that many trips to the state championships during this period of time gives KHS the honor of being one of the top performing bands in Texas. {{more: continue …}}
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Twenty-three bands from across Texas …
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The number of bands that make state varies from year to year anywhere from 17 to 27. This year Kennedale is one of twenty-three 4A bands that will be making the trip to the Alamodome in San Antonio. In even years, bands from Class 2A, 4A and 6A get the chance to compete and in odd years, bands from 1A, 3A and 5A compete.
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Kennedale will perform on Wednesday in preliminaries (semi-finals) at 9:15 a.m. If they do well, they will one of 10 bands invited back to compete in the finals that evening. At the end of the evening finals, three bands will earn either a first, second or third place. See Preliminary Schedule
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Over the last seven contest years, Kennedale has finished in the top ten twice – 2016 (5th in prelims and 8th in finals) and 2014 (4th in prelims and 5th in finals). The two times before that, the Wildcats finished at #12 in the state.

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What are the challenges?
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Size and experience ? this year Kennedale will take it largest number of band member ever at 160 strong. One of the reason for the high number is that the high school band has had back to back ?largest freshmen class?. This year?s freshman class numbers 66. In other words by combining the sophomore and freshman class, it means that 2/3rd of the band are rookies. These are the ones who have never gone to a state level contest.
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Practice time …?It becomes crucial that routines are established and practice is constant. Using Band Director Erol Oktay?s numbers for hours practiced on the routine (not including seat time practicing the music and performances at football and Saturday band festivals), a band member will have practiced the equivalent of 8 hours a day, seven days a week for 25 straight days. All for a performance that can be measured in minutes.
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Musical performance outweights marching techniques ... What adds to the challenges is that freshmen do not come up from junior high with marching experience. There is a legitmate reason for that fact. For all the success that the Kennedale band program has had, whether it is at the middle, junior high or high school, on the field or on the concert stage, it is predicated on the ability of the student to play his/her instrument. That becomes the focus of the band at James Arthur and Kennedale Junior High. So that by the time that a student has entered as a freshman at the high school, they are not struggling with learning how to play.
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This focus on playing becomes apparent as the musical performance is paramount in the contest that lead up to the state championships. When performing at the area competition followed by the state contest, there are five judges ? 3 for the music and 2 for marching performances. Every note has to be spot on whether it is someone playing the first part or the third.

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How has the process worked for Kennedale? Very well, thank you !
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Besides going to the state marching contest every two years since 2006, Kennedale has won 11 of the last 12 UIL Sweepstakes awards. The UIL Sweepstakes is designed to reward excellence in the three most measurable aspects of public school band curriculum ? marching, prepare concert performance and ability to sight read music ?on the spot?. This is in addition to a host of other honors and contest titles and wins.
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Departure Tuesday … public welcome to the send off …?
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Tuesday is the day that? the KHS Wildcat Band departs for state.? Departure time is set for 3 p.m.
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Read part 2 tomorrow and find out how they got there and who is going.

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