Twice as nice

Mineola band wins second straight marching title


[more photos from San Antonio]

Mineola High School Sound of the Swarm is the best marching band in Texas in Conference 3A – again.

Ten judges gave their overwhelming stamp of approval at the state marching competition Wednesday, Nov. 6 at the Alamodome in San Antonio as the band earned its second championship in as many tries.

In the judges’ rankings, the Mineola band was first on all five lists during the preliminary round, which includes three judges for marching and two more for music.

That round narrowed the competition to 10 bands from the 22 that had qualified at the five area contests across the state.

The Sound of the Swarm duplicated that feat in the finals, rated first by all members of a new panel of five judges.

There were just a few anxious moments as the finalists were announced, with Mineola the last to be named. The bands were announced in marching order, which meant Mineola would be the last to perform.

The judges named Whitesboro second and Queen City third. Those two bands had won the previous five championships, Whitesboro in 2013 and 2015 and Queen City in 2007, 2009 and 2011. Mineola band director Chris Brannan also led Queen City to those three titles.

He arrived in Mineola in 2013 and the MHS band made its first appearance at state in 2015, taking third place before winning it all in 2017.

The state marching contest is held every other year for each conference, with the 1A, 3A and 5A contests this year.

Bands must earn a first division rating at the region marching contest to qualify for area. The number of bands competing at each area determine the number to advance to state, with five from Mineola’s area – led by the Sound of the Swarm in first place.

Those five area bands placed in the top eight at state. In addition to Queen City placing third, White Oak finished fourth, Atlanta fifth and Redwater eighth.

Mineola’s show featured an automotive theme, “Car Man,” a takeoff on the music of the opera “Carmen,” which was among the featured selections.

The band was welcomed back to town on a chilly, rainy Thursday evening with a police and fire escort through the community.