Pieper, Smithson Valley High Marching Bands Advance to UIL State 5A Contest

November 1, 2023 - The countless hours spent practicing early morning and late at night have paid off for two Comal ISD marching bands which advanced to the State 5A UIL marching contest, scheduled for Monday, Nov. 6, in the Alamodome.

Both bands from Pieper High School and Smithson Valley High School will represent the district after advancing on Saturday, Oct. 30, during the UIL 5A Area D marching band contest in Pflugerville.

The young three-year-old Pieper High School Band of Warriors placed third in the area contest with its show titled “Checkmate” and is scheduled to perform at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 6, in the preliminary round of the state contest.

The Smithson Valley Ranger Band placed fifth in the area contest with its show titled “The Voice Within” and is scheduled to perform at 6:15 p.m. Monday.


The Ranger Band

The 140-member Ranger Band and 33-member color guard will be playing not only for its current members, but for all former band members who worked to build the program, especially for those who qualified for a state performance but were not given the opportunity to compete. Prior to this year, marching bands competed at the state level every other year. With new rules allowing bands to compete at state every year, the Ranger Band is ready to showcase its abilities.

“This is the opportunity to have the performance they earned last year and to show the work and trajectory this program has been on for the last six years,” says Mike Childress, SVHS director of bands. “I think we have created a community of true performers who can work together to create amazing moments for one another and truly communicate to our audience without words.”

The visual design of this year’s show, “The Voice Within,” is centered in the Himalayan Mountains with a Tibetan Temple and massive spinning prayer wheels. The colorful production is the perfect backdrop for the band’s big sound and energy.

The last time the SVHS Ranger Band performed at the state marching contest was in 2001.

The Ranger Band is under the direction of Childress, Robby Andrade, associate director of winds and color guard; Scott Duncan, associate director of winds; and Travis Land, associate director of percussion.


The Pieper Band of Warriors

The Pieper Band of Warriors consists of 190 band members and 45 color guard members. Its show, “Checkmate,” is a colorful display of a chess battle between the kings represented in purple by the band and queens represented in bright orange by the color guard.

“The judges have consistently commented on the incredible sound and volume of the band with detailed technical features that sets it apart from other groups,” says Evan Berry, PHS director of bands. “Visually, judges, spectators, fans and family have commented on the vibrant colors of the color guard costumes, the incredible 12-foot-tall pawns built by our band parents and the amazing flags that spin throughout the show.”

In just its third season of existence, the Band of Warriors is adding quite a list of honors to its resume and awards to its trophy case. Last spring, the color guard advanced to the Texas Color Guard Circuit state contest; in April, the band won the San Antonio Battle of Flowers Band Festival (the first Comal ISD band to do so); and in September, the band became a regional finalist, class champion and overall medalist in the Bands of America contest.

“I am incredibly proud of the students this year,” Berry says. “This is our first year to have seniors, and they have overcome every obstacle to perform as they have in every contest this year. There is no better feeling as a teacher than to know that your students are proud of themselves for their hard work and dedication.”

The Band of Warriors is under the direction of Berry, assistant director Allyn Conner, assistant director and director of percussion Scott Lowe and color guard director John Arroyo.



-Pieper Band of Warriors

-Members of the Smithson Valley High School Ranger Band are pictured from left: Arabella Grimaldo, Makenzie Houchen, Rhea Carter, Will McBrayer, Aidan Kellner, Ashlynn Flores and Hailey Rodriguez.

-Smithson Valley Ranger Band performance.

-Smithson Valley Ranger Band 


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