The Hitchcock High School Band performed Saturday at the UIL Region 13 marching contest in El Campo. The band received a 1st Division rating for its performance and qualified for advancement to the area contest on Saturday in Cuero. The band is under the direction of Kelly Brunson and Assistant Director Fred Otto.
As I write this column, I’m quite taken aback by all that has transpired to get these hardworking students to where they are today.
In 2015, Brunson accepted the position of head band director of Hitchcock High School. Through hard work, dedication, personal sacrifice, a genuine love for music, and most importantly, our children and their success, he has rebuilt an underfunded, struggling band program from the ground up.
The band booster program was re-established as a nonprofit organization in 2015. Our mission is to support the band in every way possible. We asked for instrument donations from the community. We put out donation cans, had bake sales and started an online campaign for help. We did everything we could to help the program succeed.
As a result, our children flourished. Their eyes opened to a whole new level of success that they were never aware existed. They began to take great pride in their performances and to receive exemplary ratings in competition. The community and the school district began to rally around them and to support them even further with new instruments, new uniforms and a refurbished band hall.
In 2016, the band returned to UIL marching for the first time in almost 20 years. They were rewarded for their hard work with 1st Division exemplary ratings.
In 2017, at the height of summer band practice, our community was devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Many of our students and their families lost everything due to flooding. The band was unable to meet or practice for over two weeks. When they could return, many were (and still are) displaced from their homes. Despite all of this, they buckled down and went back to work.
Due to their unwillingness to fail, the leadership of the band directors and support of the parents and the district, the band received a 1st Division rating in Saturday’s UIL marching competition, qualifying it to advance and represent the school in the area marching competition this weekend.
As a parent of two band students, I can truly say I’ve never been more proud in my life. Not just of my own children, but of each and every one of these kids that has worked so hard to achieve these accomplishments. The life lessons that our children will take away from this program are invaluable. They now understand that despite your situation, your financial status, unforeseen events, etc., if you remain determined and work hard toward your goals, you can and will succeed.