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Paris High School Band

This year’s Paris Wildcat marching band may be young, but what they lack in experience they more than make up for in heart. Band director Charles Grissom is confident this year could be a landmark one for the group in spite of obstacles.

With a great deal of freshman and sophomores, the Wildcats enter the 2021 season without much UIL competition experience. That’s exacerbated by the fact that last year’s competitions were canceled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, meaning the sophomores don’t have the experience usually afforded to 10th graders.

“You can work and work in practice, but at the end of the day, you can’t simulate a performance,” Grissom said. “There’s no replacement for the effect of the crowd, external noise, the nerves and that sort of thing.”

Despite the group’s youth, Grissom said he’s been tremendously impressed by the talent found in the group.

“We have really good players in every section,” Grissom said. “You know, that’s not always the case. Some years, we’re light in certain sections. This year, we’re strong across the board.”

The Wildcats will use that talent to put together an impressive show titled “Take Flight.”

“The show is all about man’s quest to fly, which is something that’s always captured our imaginations,” Grissom said.

All of the music that comprises the show will include themes of flight or have an ethereal quality. Selections include pieces by Eric Whitacre and Eric Horner, the song “One Day I’ll Fly Away” from the movie “Moulin Rouge” and music from “Star Trek: Into Darkness.”

“It’s a show that Bryan Ewing has been putting together since last year, and we’re really excited to finally get it out on the field,” Grissom said.

The Wildcats will get their first taste of competition at the Princeton Contest in Royse City in early October, with the regional UIL competition following just a few short days after that.

“We’re preparing for them, but we try not to think much about it,” Grissom said of the UIL competitions. “My philosophy is that the most important performance is the next one. Whether you’re playing for 1,000 people or 20, you should try to put on the best show possible for those 20 people.”

Tommy Culkin is sports editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at

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