Bel Air Band Earns Top Spot at Thunderbird Invitational

The Coronado Band’s Thunderbird Invitational, held on September 29, kicked off what should be 5 weeks of some great band action here in the Borderland.

Thirteen bands, along with the host T-Bird band, performed for a panel of 7 judges, which scored each organization in a narrow set of criteria and offered suggestions on improving all aspects of each organization’s show.

The 7 judge’s scores were then combined to rank each band in their respective classes and all together to determine the top 8 finishers, who advanced to a second, finals round to compete once more.

This competition featured three classes of bands, based on the number of wind players in each group.

Class A was for bands marching 40 wind players or less, while Class AA was for groups with 41 to 99 wind players, and Class AAA was for bands fielding blocks of wind players 100 members and up.

In addition to scoring the bands, the groups were also vying for caption awards, which recognize either smaller groups of performers or performance elements of the shows.

In the preliminary round, Class A was won by Riverside High School, who also received the General Effect caption award. Silver High School, from Silver City, New Mexico, finished second and nabbed the Visual Effect caption award while Irvin High School won the Music caption and finished third.

As the top class A finisher, Riverside also performed as an exhibition group at the start of the Finals competition. Class AA was won by Eastlake High School, who swept all three caption awards for that class. In second place was Americas High School, followed in third by Parkland High.

In Class AAA, Bel Air came out in the top spot in prelims. Montwood followed in second place, and Pebble Hills finsihed in the third spot. Bel Air swept all captions in their class.

8 bands advanced to finals, and at the end of the evening scores and more caption awards were announced.

Bel Air held on to the top spot with a score of 82.95, followed by Pebble Hills with a 80.05, and Montwood with a 79.00. Eastlake finished in 4th place with a 78.05, followed by Del Valle with a 74.5 and Parkland High with a 67.90.

Americas High School followed close behind the 7th spot with a score of 67.75, and El Dorado High School rounded out the top 8 with a score of 65.00.

The following caption awards were handed out: The outstanding soloist award went to clarinet soloist Peyton Bell of Parkland High School. The outstanding drum major award went to Kayla Melendez and James Hernanadez of Eastlake High School, who also won the award for outstanding auxlliary.

Outstanding woodwind section went to Pebble Hills, Bel Air won outstanding brass, and Montwood received outstanding percussion. The General Effect caption award went to Bel Air, while Pebble Hills tied with Bel Air for the Music caption.

Bel Air also repeated from prelims as the Visual caption winner.

Next up for many of these bands is the El Paso ISD marching contest being held Saturday, October 6 at Franklin High School.

This contest is a criteria-based contest, where the bands are adjudicated on a rating system. Each band will perform only once and will be awarded a division 1,2,3,4,or 5, with 1 denoting a “superior” performance and a 5 meaning a “poor” performance.

In this type of contest it is possible for every band to receive a division 1 if each rates high enough on the scoring guidelines, so it’s a fun contest to watch. This is a large contest, with the first band stepping off at 7:45 in the morning and performances commencing every 15 minutes afterwards. Award breaks will be held.


Author – Lorraine Kubala

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Click here for a complete listing of all the ‘Bandtober’ Events


Once again, the El Paso Herald-Post will be providing band fans with LIVE, STREAMING coverage of SISD’s Marchfest on October 20, 2018!   Our day-long coverage starts at 7:20 and goes on through the finals!