The Royse City High School “Mighty Bulldog” Band has marched onto the practice field in preparation for the coming football and marching competition season.
Summer band rehearsals started in late July, with the band taking the practice field in the morning to beat the heat while practicing music indoors later in the day.
The 230-student marching machine is preparing this year’s show, called “The Road to Elysium.” Director of Bands Doug Fulwood explained the marching show’s story.
“So it’s a story about a warrior’s departure from this world, traveling through whatever death looks like and coming out into Elysium or Elysian Fields,” he said, referring to Greek mythology’s conceptualization of Heaven. “It kind of tells the story of that journey.”
The past week or so, the band has been practicing in two blocks throughout the day: A visual block and music block. The visual one consisted of learning, or for returning students improving, their fundamental marching skills before learning the show marching drill. The music block allowed that 230 piece ensemble to practice music in their sections.
“We have fantastic kids and they’re working really hard,” Fulwood said. “Band kids are just great.”
Once teachers come back from summer break, the band will go on to practice solely in the evenings, from 5-9 p.m. until school starts.
Going into his seventh year with Royse City Independent School District, Fulwood said this year’s band is the biggest group the school has ever had.
The Mighty Bulldog Band is also breaking in the new band hall expansion that was recently completed with the bond election. The expansion, Fulwood said, has helped accommodate the growing music program and allowed the bigger sections, like percussion, a practice space where every student - and their equipment - can fit.
“Having that expansion has helped up not only split our students in a much better way, but also allowed us to have a lot of storage that we didn’t have originally,” he said. “There were things that were just sitting out in the old band hall because we didn’t really have storage for it, but now we have storage to put it all away. Now we have this big open space and this new space as well.”
It’s an advancing year for the marching band, meaning that if they achieve a first division “superior” rating at the University Interscholastic League regional marching contest in October, they advance to the area contest 10 days later. At the area contest, they compete for the chance to earn a spot at the state marching championship in San Antonio in early November.
But that’s not quite on Fulwood’s mind right now.
“We talk about the state marching contest the very first day and I won’t talk about it again until it’s time to talk about it,” he said. “What we’re going to do, is do the very best we can every time we step out on the field.”
For the time being, Fulwood and the group will continue marching and rehearsing music, preparing for the marching and football season ahead for the remainder of the summer and into the start of the school year.
“Students are willing to give up the last few weeks of their summer to go work for this activity,” he said. “That’s special and really cool.”