In recent years, the North Lamar band has built up a reputation for consistent success, with several high placings at competitions and trips to the state UIL contest. In 2021, the band is geared up for another successful year.
“I’m feeling really good about this year,” Panthers band director Jason Smith said. “The kids are working really, really hard and you’re already starting to see the payoff from that work.”
Beginning back in the summer, the band has made strides in perfecting their show for the year that they’ll play during halftime shows and take to competitions throughout the state.
The show, titled “Polarity,” follows the theme of two opposing forces working together.
“The whole show is symbolic of that push and pull,” Smith said.
The show incorporates several clever ways to convey that idea, including having soloists play “You Are My Sunshine” and “Moon River” simultaneously, a piece from “Romeo and Juliet,’’ and several songs used in the piece that evoke imagery of electricity and energy.
Not only is it a piece that’s musically intricate, but it also includes some of the most involved choreography and use of props the band has had in years.
“The kids are really excited about the show and it’s been great to see it take shape,” Smith said.
Though some less-than-ideal weather last month has put the group slightly behind schedule in getting the entire show on the field, Smith said he’s still confident that the Panther band will have everything down by the time they travel to the UIL regional qualifying competition in Pine Tree in early October.
“We have a lot of great musicians, and it honestly makes our job so much easier,” Smith said.
In particular, the leadership team has done a terrific job getting younger band members up to speed and setting the example for underclassmen to follow, Smith said.
The reputation the Panther band carries is something understood by everyone in the group, and is something they take pride in.
“It’s humbling to look back on,” Smith said. “This stretch where we’ve accomplished a lot started back in around 2008, and it had to do with a lot of different things and people.
“A big part of it is due to the faculty, which has been incredibly supportive, and all our wonderful parents. But the biggest thing has always been the kids. They’re passionate about this and have the drive to be successful.”