Calallen High School Band students got a good head start ahead of Regional competition on Saturday, winning the Lake Shore Classic Marching Festival in Mathis.

The CHS Band took Grand Champion out of 21 bands competing that day. They received first place among 4A bands competing, along with first place awards for their drum majors and drum line. The CHS color guard took second place in the competition. This was the third time in five years the band took the top prize.

Calallen High School Band Director Craig Ewing said this year’s show has really had an impact on the community. The show’s patriotic theme has brought both pride and tears to several in the stands during the band’s half time performances this season, Ewing said.

“The show is called ‘A Hero’s Journey.’ We’re basically trying to take the audience on a journey. First off a soldier going to war, with a military funeral in the middle and at the end, a celebration of the soldier coming home,” Ewing said. “As far as crowd response, it’s been very good, very emotional. We’ve received so many stories of people crying during our performance. So hopefully people will come out and watch it.”

The Tuloso-Midway High School Band took seventh overall at the Lake Shore Classic Marching Festival, and fifth in 4A competition. The band also competed at the Sinton Pre-UIL Marching competition on Saturday, where they were the only 4A band, and received Grand Champion overall in the competition. The TMHS Band also has a patriotic themed show this year, including a rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

TMHS Band Director Ray Sanchez said Saturday’s competitions really prepared their students for what to expect at UIL competition.

“Our focus has been on Area. We know we have work to do, and we are ready to do it. We had some good performances last weekend, and we’ve very proud of our students,” Sanchez said.

The 4A UIL Region Marching Band Contest will take place Saturday in Wildcat Stadium. UIL Area competition, which will include schools from the Laredo, Brownsville and San Antonio, will take place Oct. 29 at Wildcat Stadium.