By Tim Taylor
For the first time in the school’s history, the Paris High Blue Blazes Band has earned a trip to the state marching band finals to perform their award-winning halftime show “Shiver.”
The PHS band placed fourth at the Area C contest Saturday at Nacogdoches Homer Bryce Stadium to punch a ticket to the Class 4A State Marching Band Contest on Monday, Nov. 7, at the San Antonio Alamodome. North Lamar finished first at the area with seven points (combined placement of a panel of five judges), followed by Spring Hill 15, Little Cypress-Mauriceville (LCM) 16, Paris 19, and Atlanta 28. The top five bands at Area C qualified for state finals this year.
The state marching band contest has been in existence since 1984. It is held biennially among the various state classifications. The 6A and 4A levels this year are contested. Class 6A bands perform on Tuesday (Nov 8).
Paris just missed a berth to the state finals at the previous area competition in 2014. That PHS band and their halftime show “Stained Glass” finished 2 points out of the fourth and final state berth from Area C. NL, Spring Hill, Atlanta, and LCM also qualified for the state finals in 2014.
“It was nerve-racking, especially after just missing out two years ago,” PHS band director Charles Grissom said about waiting for this year’s area results to be posted. “Our show was built for the state finals,” he added. “If we can make it to the finals, I really feel like we’ve got a good chance.”
But first the PHS ensemble, approximately 120 strong, will have to survive state prelims and a tough draw with an early 9:15 a.m. performance time. It means that Paris students will get a 5 a.m. wakeup call, eat, dress out, and warm up for the show in the Alamodome then sweat out the rest of the day as 23 bands compete for a chance to make the 6 p.m. finals where the top 10 bands perform their shows one last time before an entirely different set of judges.
North Lamar, which finished second to Argyle at the 2014 state finals, drew a 1:45 p.m. start time.
Meanwhile, Grissom and the other PHS band directors face a busy week ahead making arrangements for the traveling entourage of about 160. Paris and NL fans can see both schools’ halftime shows Friday night at the Crosstown Showdown at R. L. Maddox Stadium before both groups load up for San Antonio.