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Woodrow Wildcat Band at 2018 UIL Contest -Photo by Carrie Furman

Just about less than two weeks ago, the Woodrow Wilson Wildcat Band once again humbly, made school and DISD history in a milestone mark for the 5-A UIL Sight Reading Competition and getting what is called a SWEEPSTAKES in scoring for both the Marching aspect in the Fall and Concert Sight reading as explained by Mr. Chris Evetts, director of bands at Woodrow Wilson High School below.  

Our three Senior drum majors are pictured with the Wildcat Band's All-1s UIL Sweepstakes trophy. This places Woodrow as the highest-performing band of all levels and conferences in Dallas - no one else achieved a full sweep of Marching, Concert and Sightreading.

Texas has the best marching bands in the country and all high school band programs are judged on their scores at the twice-a-year UIL contests. There are three components to the entire series: marching, concert and sightreading.

The first contest happens in October for marching and the other happens in April for both Concert and Sightreading (at the same contest). Each of the three components is judged by a panel of 3 adjudicators made up of Texas band directors who have gone through training with the Texas Music Adjudicators Association and have certified to evaluate bands based on a rubric set forth by UIL. The scoring is based on a 1-5 scale, 1 being "superior" and 5 being "poor", with 3 being "average". One must understand that 2 is labeled as "excellent" so there is a barrier between excellent and superior that is hard to cross.

Each year, all band programs set their goal for the elusive "Sweepstakes" which means they've earned a 1 from all three judging panels. Because the scoring is taken as a composite from each 3-person panel, it is possible to earn a "dirty" sweepstakes (meaning a band earned a 1-2-1 from the panel but it was averaged into an overall "1"). The ultimate goal is a clean Sweepstakes, or earning a 1 from all 9 judges involved throughout the year.

(Pro tip: when a band returns from a UIL contest, instead of asking them "did you win?", ask if they made 1s).

After several years of improvement and earning various combinations of 1s and 2s, the Woodrow Wildcat Band has finally achieved the highest ranking as of last Thursday, April 19, by "sweeping" all three UIL components with straight 1s from all judges (including last fall where they swept the Marching component in October). This is absolutely history made, as Woodrow has not been competitive at this level in this century or in the past several decades. Last year was a heartbreaker as they earned all 1s at marching and also on stage in concert, but wound up getting a 1-2-2 in sightreading (in other words, they missed a composite Sweepstakes by 1 out of 9 judges). This year they came back with our minds set on one thing-righting that error for our outgoing Seniors. And they did it!

These seniors and last years as well, saw the Woodrow Band program grow from about 40 members to just under 120 members in their 4 years, and go from earning low ratings to sweeping it all last week. Many factors besides the students themselves contributed to this outstanding victory: supportive parents and the Wildcat Band Booster Club, incredible administration, recent band alums who worked hard each year to get us all closer to this goal, and not least the surrounding Woodrow Community who've provided the resources we needed when we needed them.

Parents that attended the UIL competition said that there were tears of joy and emotion just overflowed by both parents and band members.   The Woodrow Wildcat Band had a special DISD guest visit them at the UIL competition. Dimas Delgado is the DISD Chair of instrumental Music. He gave the band members both a pep and congratulatory speech for their outstanding achievement.

Some comments from former Woodrow Alumni and administrators went like this…

”Absolutely phenomenal achievement!” – Chris Xenos, WWHS Class of ’45,  

“I am so proud of the Woodrow Wildcat Band and Mr. Evetts” ---Bradley Sue Howell, WWHS Class of ’51 (and three generation WW family in the WWHS music program)

”My heart was pounding so hard and I was just beaming with joy” --- Cynthia Cremeens, WWHS Class of ’80 (also a three generation WW Family in the music program, with son Andrew graduating this year)

”Amazing accomplishment and congratulations”  -- Kyle Richardson, Former WWHS Principal, Retired (originally hired Mr. Chris Evetts when the band was down to less than a dozen members)

”A tremendous accomplishment that has been building…” – Randy Patterson, WWHS Class of ’82 and former WWHS PTA President

”…a demonstration of love and dedication…and a true commitment towards a common goal…”  - Maria Monsalve, (Woodrow Band Mom to Senior Drum Major, Manuela)

This Sweepstakes Trophy accomplishment has been an exhaustive effort on behalf of the entire Woodrow Wildcat Band students, parents, Mr. E. and their effort and determination has proven that this group at Woodrow Wilson High School is more than just another campus organization, but a true Band Family.

* The majority of this article was written by Chris Evetts, with some additions and edits made by Victor Aves