marching band

Swarm wins area soundly

Heads down straight, narrow road to state in San Antonio


The Mineola, Quitman, and Winnsboro high school bands competed at the Conference 3A Area C marching contest held at Carthage High School Stadium on Saturday.

Winnsboro placed fifth in prelims, then sixth in finals, missing a state birth by only one spot.

Mineola’s Sound of the Swarm marching band won the competition, earning a trip to San Antonio where they will defend their state championship title Nov. 6.

They appear ready to remember the Alamodome success of two years ago, winning the state title.

According to Mineola band director Chis Brannan, “Pressure does factor in.”

“I always just try to think about – what’s the best music, what’s the best show for our kids? And make sure it’s one, very competitive; two, it’s very entertaining; if you do those two things, you’re going to have a great performance.”

The Sound of the Swarm rose to the pressure Saturday, dominating the competition by placing first in both prelims and finals, with none of the five judges ranking them lower than third in marching or music. [full results]

Brannan and team – Middle School director Heather Chitty, percussion instructor Austin Brannon, percussion tech Kayla Wilson, colorguard instructor Carrie Gonzales, and student teacher Kyle Bennett – prepared the band well for competition, but it is the students themselves who coalesced into a strong whole, putting on their best performance of their show Carman to date late Saturday evening.

Brannan noted, “Making the band warmup better is not going to make them perform better. But just the kids buying into what they’re going to do is huge.”

The Swarm has a unique tactic to achieve this buy-in. During warmups, they separate into several smaller sections by instrument – horns huddle together, saxes circle up, percussion and pit practice – each led by a student.

“That’s part of their job…they want to do it, they love to do it and…the work they can do far outweighs the directors’ in my opinion,” expressed Brannan.

The weight of competition at a high level was met by a group of young musicians ready to lift each other up, as well as the hardware that goes along with it.

Mineola will perform at the Class 3A State Marching Band Championships at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Finals will begin that evening at 6:30 p.m. and awards will be announced at 9:15 p.m.

Mr. Brannan wishes to express his thanks to:  parents, we couldn’t do this without your support; our booster club this year has been incredible; our prop dads that help us get on and off the field with all our big, heavy equipment; the school for supporting our band program and our fine arts, and Mr. Hancock our new [interim] superintendent is here tonight and is very supportive of our music program, so I appreciate him.