Queen City High School Band places fourth in state competition

Texarkana Gazette - - CASS COUNTY LIFE - By Neil Abe­les Cass County Life

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.

Staff pho­tos by Neil Abe­les

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.

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