Queen City High School Band places fourth in state competition
There’s something special about the Queen City High School Band, now that they’ve returned from their seventh straight state playoffs.
This year they finished fourth in the best-in-state marching season finals.
The band simply makes a solid sound. Director Billy Vess can’t explain it.
“I don’t know what it is, exactly, but we get this comment all the time about the band’s fullness of sound. These kids get the sound everyone looks for,” Vess said.
“It’s been this way ever since I came in 2013 and was that way before since the band has gone to state seven straight times over the past 14 years.”
Marching competition is held every other year for regions of the state. Under Vess, the band finished fourth two years ago and third four years ago.
Vess said the Queen City youth simply come to school and play without nervousness.
“I don’t know if it’s in their blood or culture, and it’s not extra lessons. But they seem to say that’s just what they do here in making the sound. I’m fortunate to be a part of it here.”
Vess said he believes Queen City has helped set a high standard for 3A band performance in Region 4.
“At state this year, four of the bands were from this Northeast Texas area and their performance abilities were equally good. You had Mineola, which won first, and then New Diana and New Boston along with Queen City.”
He added that Redwater, Winnsboro and White Oak also have fine programs and could have easily been at state, too.
Vess said cooperation from the school district’s board is superb, noting that the program had recently received drums, a new sound system and an additional teaching assistant.
He said, too, that the band parents and other volunteers are “simply amazing” in support of band at the school.
“They don’t seem to do it for recognition. They just do it,” he said.
As the band’s director Vess is assisted by Kim Madlock at the junior high program while assisting at the high school are Stephen Bynum in woodwinds, Cody Brown in percussion and Lauren Langston with flags.
Vess himself grew up in Grand Saline and is a music graduate at Southern Arkansas University. He was part of band programs in Foreman and Searcy, Ark., as well as Prairiland near Paris before coming to Queen City,
He said, perhaps, his biggest personal experience, however, was a year of participation with the Delta Brigade Drum Corps out of Little Rock in 1997.
“That was the coolest. I’ll never forget,” he said.
The Queen City High Band performs high in the football stands. The band placed fourth in the best-in-state marching competition.
Members of the Queen City High School Band unfold a huge bed set for their dreamland halftime show. From left are Austin McGee, Adam Bowen, Noah Perkins, Luke Niedens and Cody Clark.
During the Queen City High School Band’s show, the chimes are played by Seth Alexander, while Colton Henry and Adam Bowen sound out their trumpets. Connor McGee, Jessica Clark and Colton Cromeans move to new positions.