LUBBOCK, Texas — The mighty Roughneck Band from Sundown was back in West Texas after competing in the UIL Texas High School 2-A Marching Band State Championships in San Antonio. 

In Tuesday morning’s preliminary round at the Alamodome, the Roughneck Band finished in 6th place out of 18 bands. That gave them the opportunity to compete in Tuesday evening’s final round, where they took home 7th place in the state.

“In the prelims, they had a great performance that qualified them for finals, and then the finals run, they just came out on fire, and that ‘Sundown Sound’ was alive and well,” said Justin Mauldin, Sundown ISD’s director of bands. “Everybody in the audience was just so proud of these kids.”

Sundown was joined in the Class 2A contest by a few other schools across the South Plains. Hale Center, New Deal and Panhandle marched on Tuesday morning for the prelims, but only Sundown and Panhandle finished within the top seven and advanced to the finals that evening. 

“We talked to the kids about how you know two teams are gonna make it to the Super Bowl this year, and one of them’s going to win,” Mauldin said. “That doesn’t mean that the other team wasn’t super good. They had to do an awful lot to beat an awful lot of teams to get there, and that’s how we feel about this. We’re proud of the other bands that made it to the finals and we’re just honored and thrilled to be among the top seven bands in the state.”

The Roughneck Band, made up of 115 middle school and high school musicians, had a strong history of going to state dating back to 1979. This was the program’s 22nd consecutive appearance at the State Championships, but they had competed in 27 contests. The dominant program had advanced to the finals 25 of those times, including this week’s contest. 

Sundown Mayor Pro Tem, Lonnie Geisler, had lived in Sundown since 1982 and said the Roughneck Band had always been a staple amongst the community.

“All of the hard work and energy that they put in, and they have all of the love from the whole community supporting them, and it’s just a beautiful thing to watch,” Geisler said. “They’re just a fantastic band and always have been ever every year.”

Sundown’s population was just over 1,200 people, and despite being so small, Mauldin said this community’s support was unmatched.

“It feels like a culture,” Mauldin said. “It feels like something that everybody here wants to be a part of, and it’s very special.”

This year’s marching band had 19 seniors, three of which were drum majors. Davina Lopez, who played snare drum, was one of those seniors. She said the program’s finals performance was the best she’d ever seen since she joined her 8th grade year.

It meant a lot because we’ll never get to experience what it’s like to do that ever again,” Lopez said. “I’m super proud of all of us. We pushed so hard for that ending and we just played it perfectly. I thought we couldn’t have done any better.”

Anastasia Robinson had played clarinet for Sundown also since the 8th grade. As a senior, she said it had been special to see the program evolve over the years.

“I’ve watched this band grow since I was a tiny little 8th grader, and now I’m a leader, and I have all of these underclassmen looking up to me,” Robinson said. “It fills me with joy and happiness to be there to watch us continue to grow and continue to keep this legacy that we have.”

Senior trombone player Eloisa Mireles said it was an emotional experience, but she was proud of the way her team competed. 

“It was the best performance ever,” Mireles said. “I’m very proud of the group that we had this year for the band, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Mauldin started his position just four years prior, so all of these seniors had been with him from the very beginning.

“There are section leaders, there are drill instructors, there are kids that are just leaders whether they have a title or not,” Mauldin said. “They’re just incredible kids, incredible personalities, and I think that’s what makes them so special.”

The Roughneck Band had won the entire contest seven times. This year, the team didn’t medal, but Mauldin said he couldn’t be more proud of how his students performed at this year’s championship.

“When the lights come on, you just sense something special on the field,” Mauldin said. “If you’re an audience member, it just makes you lean forward in your seat and want to see more, and that’s what these kids delivered at state. I’m beaming with pride at the 7th place band in the state.”

2022 2A State Marching Band Results

Prelims:

  1. Shiner HS
  2. Panhandle HS
  3. Harper HS
  4. Clarksville HS
  5. Tenaha HS
  6. Sundown HS
  7. Valley Mills HS
  8. Ganado HS
  9. Santo HS
  10. Mason HS
  11. Rivercrest HS
  12. Hale Center HS
  13. Forsan HS
  14. Charlotte HS
  15. Anson HS
  16. Honey Grove HS
  17. New Deal HS
  18. Ben Bolt-Palito HS

Finals:

  1. Shiner HS
  2. Harper HS
  3. Clarksville HS
  4. Tenaha HS
  5. Panhandle HS
  6. Valley Mills HS
  7. Sundown HS