The Royse City High School Mighty Bulldog Band received first division ratings from all three judges during the University Interscholastic League regional marching contest last week — a feat that hasn’t been accomplished by the local band since 2008.
Band Director Doug Fulwood said the Royse City High School band earned a first division rating in 2009 with a “1” from two judges and a “2” from the third. He said the last time the band got a “1” from all three judges was six years ago.
Fulwood, who has been the band director since April of 2013, said the first division rating earned on Oct. 22 at Mesquite is a “big deal” for the band members and directors.
“For this group of kids, none of these students — not even the seniors — have had the experience of receiving a first division at marching contest,” he said. “In terms of the big historical picture, it has been done here before, but in terms of these students and their experiences, it’s a pretty big deal for them and it’s a big deal for us as directors, too.”
He said the band has worked very hard since Aug. 1, “and we have done very well because of that.”
The focus is on the band members, Fulwood said, not the directors. And again he commented on their effort, along with “their drive to be successful.
“It’s so great to be able to stand in front of them and say, ‘These are our kids. These are the things they’re able to do as a result of all this time and effort.”
The 131-member, corps-style marching band’s winning program was called “Thrill Ride.”
“Basically, what we wanted to do this year was something that would be challenging for the kids, but also really crowd-pleasing,” Fulwood said. “The neat thing about our music this year is that it is representative of the show.”
The first movement is called “Roller Coaster.”
“As you watch the show, you can literally see the roller coaster car going up, over the track and falling down,” Fulwood said.
The second movement is “Space Jump,” based on some of the music from the new Star Trek movie.
Other movements are called “Into the Light” and “Race Car.”
With “Race Car,” the band actually “does a pit stop and the bass drums come in and are changed.”
The first division rating is not a sweepstakes award, Fulwood explained.
To earn a sweepstakes award, a band must earn first division ratings in marching, concert and sight-reading. The band does not advance to the area marching contest this year.
The band’s other directors are Jason Webb, Brody Ross, Emily Hays, Rommel Cordova and Megan Banschbach.