ODEM – “The next band in conference 3A is the Odem High School Band.” This announcement is one of many things the band is looking forward to as they head to the UIL State Marching Band Contest on Wednesday.

“It’s really exciting,” said Odem High School Band Director Steven Rash. “It’s awesome seeing the tradition continue. It’s four times for area finals in a row and it’s great to see the students’ hard work pay off.”

Drum majors for the The Spirit of OHS Band are Abaigeal Tovar, Ethan Sanchez and Isabella Duncan. Soloists in the show are Landon Garza, Ethan Sanchez, Abaigeal Tovar, John Espinoza, Isabella Duncan and Shiana Montoya.

The band is under the direction of Rash, Assistant Director Nathan Williams, Guard Instructor Alexa Wicks and Percussion Tech Aaron Villarreal.

Their show is titled, “Still There,” and tells the story of the 1814 British attack on Baltimore and Fort McHenry. The show features music from Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, Mvmt II, and snippets of the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

One of the challenges the band has encountered this season was having an unseasoned band, Rash said.

“We’ve had a really young band, we are more freshmen and sophomores heavy than we were the last time we advanced,” he said.

Despite the younger ratio of members, Rash said they have risen to the challenge and have worked hard. 

“The juniors and seniors have been great leaders,” he commented.

On Saturday the state-bound band joined a field of 31 bands to compete at the UIL Area E Marching Contest in Beeville. During the preliminary round, the students were placed 12th and earned a spot in the evening’s Area Finals round against the top 12 bands.

Rash had commented the band could have said, “OK, it’s over now,” but the band’s leadership said no and wanted to fight until the end. 

“The drum majors and upperclassmen were reminding the underclassmen things they had to do and make changes that had to be made,” said Rash. “It was impressive how focused they were.” 

That Saturday night, the Spirit of OHS placed fifth at the Area Finals, thus earning them a spot to compete at the UIL State Marching Band Contest. 

The band previously competed in the state competition in 2017, making this win a back-to-back advancement. 

The band director said the students are working hard this week to prepare for the competition. 

“We’re improving on music scores, so we’re trying to boost that side of the program and continue to work on the marching and visuals,” Rash said. 

One of the things Rash is looking forward to at state is hearing Odem’s name being announced.

“That announcement from the announcer is always, I think, one the most special moments of the contest,” said the band director. 

When asked about the plans for the band after the competition, he laughed. 

Rash said the band will continue to play until football season is over, then proceed to prepare for a performance for Veterans Day, train students for region auditions and finally get ready for their winter program.

“There is no downtime,” Rash joked.

The Spirit of OHS Band will perform  at the UIL State Marching Band Contest on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 2:15 p.m. in the Alamodome in San Antonio. 

Tickets may be purchased through TicketMaster or at the Gate. More information about the contest may be found online at https://www.uiltexas.org/music/marching-band/state