LYFORD — The Lyford Marching Band is on an upward trajectory and its band director could not be prouder of the hard work and many accomplishments of this talented ensemble.

The band received Division I at the 2019 UIL Region 28 Pigskin Marching Contest in Mercedes, and were named area champions at the UIL Area E Marching Contest held in Beeville.

Finally, the band placed 10th out of 22 bands at the 3A State UIL Marching Contest held Nov. 6 in San Antonio.

Victoria Vasquez-Gonzalez has been the band director for 11 years, and she said this year is the furthest the marching band has gone in competition.

“Not only did we advance, but we went further than in 2015 and it was nice because you get to see some growth within the program,” Vasquez-Gonzalez said.

The marching band made the state competition for the first time in 2015, but in 2017, it did not advance.

But that setback did not dampen the band’s ambitions.

According to Vasquez-Gonzalez, the band prepares its UIL show starting in the summer and football games serve as practice for competition.

“It is an incredible combination of challenging music and physical demand because they have to move in step, move with their bodies and looking the right way,” she said.

“Judges look if every student is marching in step and going with the beat. They look at shoulders, feet and knees and backwards techniques, looking at everyone doing it the exact same way,” Vasquez-Gonzalez said.

The band’s show, “U.S.O. Celebration,” was written by Tim Hinton, a composer specialized in helping marching bands.

“It was a combination of songs from the 1940s, and they were done in a patriotic style. We had an arrangement of ‘America the Beautiful’ and closed with ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever,’ which was done in a jazzy kind of version. The crowd really enjoyed that,” Vasquez-Gonzalez said.

A big part of the success the band had this school year came from the support it received from the district, according to Vasquez-Gonzalez.

“Success like this doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and I give my kids all the props because they learned the music and did the work. But a district who do nothing but help every chance they get makes me think I am so lucky to work in a district that is like that,” she said.

“All they want for everybody to be at the top — if it’s the robotics team, the football team. And it is a happy place. That allows our students to succeed,” she added.

Kayla Anzaldua, 18, is one of the band’s drum majors.

Anzaldua has been a part of the marching band since the 7th grade. She plays the French horn, the flute and the flugelhorn.

“I am in awe of all they have done. It has been an incredible journey to see how we started and how we ended up,” Anzaldua said.

“A couple years ago we were a small town band, and now we are here going to state. It is very overwhelming and impactful in my life. Definitely something I’ll be holding onto for a while,” she said.

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What you should know

– Division I at UIL Region 28 Pigskin Marching Contest in Mercedes

– Area champions at the UIL Area E Marching Contest held in Beeville

– 10th place at the 3A State UIL Marching Contest held November 6 in San Antonio