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By Elizabeth Tanner—
Finishing fourth out of 27 bands at the UIL Area Competition, the Pride of Post Marching Band has made history, propelling themselves to the UIL State Marching Band Competition, where they will compete for a chance at the state title, for the first time.
“In the 103 years of existence, this is the very first UIL State Marching Band appearance the Pride of Post Marching Band has made,” Director Aaron Rathbun said. “It’s history. These kids are at the age where they feel like they have no control of their lives and history is something that happens around them. But, even with all the stuff going on in our country and world, much of which we cannot control, these students were able to reach out, grab the bull by the horns, and make their own history on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 11:30 a.m. at Lowery Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. I always want them to remember that – they made history.”
At the state competition, the band will perform “Love, the Land of Make Believe,” a show that the students have practiced perfecting for the past three months, which focuses on loving each other and the country you’re from through Latin songs such as “Land of the Make Believe” by Check Mangione, “Don’t Cry,” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and “Malaguena” by Ernesto Lecuona.
“Because of Covid-19, we weren’t allowed to start practice until Sept. 7,” Rathbun said. “That gave us six weeks to put on a 6:30 show. Usually we get 12, so we worked this up in half of the time.”
And, with limited time on the clock, Rathbun and his team of 82 students wasted no time getting to work.
“I wasn’t going to roll over and play it safe,” Rathbun said. “We went into this whole thing all or nothing and the kids bought in. It’s incredible how quickly they learned stuff. If I set aside four days to learn a particular drill, they would learn it in two. If I planned a day to learn something, they would do it in 15 minutes. In that whole time, we lost 38 minutes of time redoing something that was taught wrong in the first place. These kids are troopers.”
Dedicating roughly five hours and thirty minutes per week to band practice, Rathbun applauds his students as many of them juggle multiple extracurricular activities.
“I don’t want to take up any more of these kids’ time,” Rathbun said. “Shoot, they are the busiest kids in school. I have middle school and high school athletes, trainers, cheerleaders, dual credit students, kids with jobs, kids working concession stands and more. I’ve even missed something I’m sure.”
Wanting no applause for himself despite being at the forefront the band since 1989, Rathbun largely credits everyone who has been behind the scenes and on the sidelines, keeping the musical dream alive.
“Thank you to our band boosters, bus drivers, administrators, school board, coaches, past directors, students and everyone else who believed in us and gave us poignant words of inspiration,” Rathbun said. “There are so many, many more to this point and beyond that I thank. They kept the musical dream alive for Post ISD.”
More importantly, Rathbun credits the students who have made winning possible.
“The success has never been about me,” Rathbun said. “It’s about these eighth through twelfth grade girls and boys who work together. Do you know how tough that is? That doesn’t mean that they don’t argue, bicker and jack around – they’re still kids – but the rate at which they improved or fixed something every day was a testimony to their willingness and desire to win.”
In fact, Rathbun says he’s never doubted their ability to go far.
“These kids are successful because they decide to be,” Rathbun said. “They’ve completely removed the words ‘I can’t’ from their vocabulary – they can do anything.”
The UIL State Marching Band Competition will be held Monday, December 14 between 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.