Held at New Mexico State University, the Tournament of Bands (TOB) was one of the final competitions in the 2017 marching season. Twenty-five bands from Arizona, New Mexico, and west Texas competed in this year's preliminary competition. The top 10 bands with the highest score in prelims advance to finals. Preliminary results are as follows (in placement order and with score)-
Coronado - 85.58
Hanks - 85.33
Bel Air - 84.75
Americas - 84.67
Oñate - 82.583
Pebble Hills - 82.583
Montwood - 81.83
Eastlake - 81
Eastwood - 80.75
Chapin - 76.17
Finals competition results at TOB are as follows (in placement order and with score)-
Coronado - 88.25
Bel Air - 87.25
Hanks - 86.08
Americas - 84.67
Eastlake - 83.83
Oñate - 83.67
Montwood - 82.83
Pebble Hills - 82.33
Eastwood - 79.17
Chapin - 76.17
“I feel very proud of the performances that we’ve put out at every TOB that I’ve participated in," says Nicole Melendez, senior drum major of the Silver Knight band. "It is always a fantastic experience to look forward to, especially when I know that I am performing with all the excellent musicians in the band.”
Tournament of Bands is a competition that has been dominated by the Hanks band. The Knights have brought home the traveling grand champion trophy a multitude of years. Even though they have brought home the third-place banner for the past two marching seasons, the Hanks band is still regarded as the top competitor at TOB and won't cease to be any time soon.
The University Interscholastic League (UIL) State Marching Contest is a prestigious competition held in San Antonio at the UTSA Alamodome. Only 35 bands in the state of Texas from conference 5A made it to the Alamodome out of the hundreds of bands that started the UIL process at regional competition.
Four El Paso bands, three from Ysleta ISD, advanced from area competition to the state competition. The Silver Knights placed 15th in the state preliminary competition.
There is no doubt that the Hanks band had an outstanding performance in San Antonio, but where they placed is an even bigger accomplishment.
"I felt unbelievably blessed to play with amazing people on that field," says Hanks lead stick, Mathew Quesada. "The experience of going to state as their section leader was surreal, but the real honor wasn't being their section leader- it was getting to call them my family."
Though none of the four El Paso schools made finals competition, west Texas was represented well in San Antonio. Results of the four El Paso bands in prelims are as follows (in placement order)-
Hanks - 15 - 82
Bel Air - 19 - 103
Horizon -31- 150
Del Valle - 34 - 163
Conference 5A will not have another state year until the 2019 marching season as the state competition is held every two years. Hanks has had a steady trend over the years of getting closer and closer to reaching the top ten finalists. Junior and low-reed section leader, Jamie Herrera, calls out future Knights in her statement, "the incoming classes better be ready to take on the responsibility of being part of the Hanks band."
"Kids need to learn quickly that the glamour of winning doesn't happen just because we are Hanks. State is important and the only way to get there again is with hard and focused work," said Herrera.
The weekend after the band arrived back in El Paso from their San Antonio trip, the Silver Knight percussion section closed-up the season with their final competition at Sun City Throwdown hosted by Eastwood High School at Eastwood Middle.
Throwdown is a percussion-only competition that consists of four competitive categories. These categories are the middle school, marching, standstill, and soloist categories that take place throughout the day.
The Hanks drumline and frontline have always competed in the standstill category and have won numerous captions and titles over the years. This year, eleven high schools competed in the marching category. The Knights brought home the outstanding tenorline, snareline, and second place trophies. The top three placements from the marching category are as follows (in placement order and including captions won)-
Pebble Hills - 85.33 - frontline caption
Hanks - 83.67 - snare and tenor captions
Montwood - 81 - bass caption
"It was really life changing in the best way imaginable," says freshman percussionist, Faith Sanders, as she reflects on her first marching season. "Nothing compares to the moment when everything falls into place. It sends adrenaline through your bloodstream and chills up your spine. It's as if the impact coming from my band isn't just sound, but happiness for the heart."