Two local high school marching bands are celebrating victories at the area level and looking forward to competing at state.

Marching bands from both Whitesboro High School and Howe High School will be returning to the state competition, while Van Alstyne High just missed the cut at the area competition.

Making it out of the local pool to state is getting harder and harder agreed the band directors for both Howe and Whitesboro. Howe Band Director Angie Liss said she actually gets more stressed about winning at the regional level than at state.

“We are just watching area bands getting better and better,” Liss said.

Whitesboro Band Director Jim Cude agreed that most area bands have stepped up their game in recent years. He said when the Whitesboro band won in 2013, a lot of bands in that division took notice.

“It has kind of evolved,” Cude said, explaining it used to be that only bands in the 5A and 6A divisions had big props and that sort of thing.

Now bands at the smaller level are coming to play with those same kinds of accessories. Whitesboro took third place in the regional competition while Howe took fourth. There were 23 bands in the competition.

Cude said his band’s show is called “Blend” and features music by George Gershwin, Cyndi Lauper, and Coldplay. Liss said the Howe band’s show is called “Stained Glass: and features music by Martin Luther, Ludwig van Beethoven and Frank Ticheli.

Both directors said the bands couldn’t do the shows they do and get the results they do without their support group of parents and other volunteers, some of whom will be making the trip to San Antonio with the musicians and teachers.

“It is pretty crazy how important they are,” Cude said of the support group.

He said the man who pulls Whitesboro’s band trailer has been doing so as a volunteer since 2011 when his last child graduated from the band. Another couple cooks meals for the band.

The Whitesboro band features 110 kids and the Howe band has 75. The state competition is familiar ground for each band. Howe has been 21 times and has won the competition three times. Whitesboro has been seven times and has won at twice.

While getting to state has become something of an expectation for both bands, Liss said one always sets out to do better than the time before.

She said the band believes in a quote that says, “The best stay the best by constantly getting better.”

“You just work to have your best performance of the year (at state),” Liss said.