Kaufman High School band advances to area UIL marching competition

There was a big celebration to be had last week when new Kaufman High School band director Mario Morales (center) and the Kaufman High School band received straight ones at the district UIL marching competition. The band will advance to area competition in Mesquite on Saturday.

The Kaufman High School Band is preparing for its first trip to area competition at the 5A level after they received straight ones at this year’s UIL district marching competition last Wednesday.

The UIL’s Area competition will be held this Saturday in Mesquite at Mesquite Memorial Stadium where the Kaufman band will meet about 35 other area bands. The top 10 from the preliminary round will perform a finals performance on the same night and depending on how many bands are entered, the top four or five will advance to the state competition.

Band director Mario Morales, a newcomer to Kaufman, is no stranger to state-level marching competitions. Before moving to Kaufman High School earlier this year, he led the Castleberry High School band to state in both 2016 and 2018. Morales says based on what he’s seen so far, there’s no reason why the Kaufman program can’t achieve the same level of success.

“That’s our goal,” Morales said. “It’s a huge goal to have. There’s no reason why these kids can’t do that. If it doesn’t happen this year, it definitely will happen eventually. Kaufman is probably the best place that I’ve ever worked. These kids are soaking it up. They want to be great. It’s amazing.”

Prior to the band’s success at the district competition, they found great success in the Sounds of Fall contest in Princeton where they made the finals. Morales says that the support he has received from the kids as well as parents and Kaufman ISD has been paramount to the program’s success. 

“Support has been wonderful here from administration, the school board and parents,” Morales said. “That is a huge motivator and a booster for the kids’ confidence. It makes my job easier when that’s in place. I came in and changed a lot of things that were in place. We’re in 5A now, which is crazy for Kaufman. The kids were used to going to small contests, but they’ve been so receptive and wonderful under new leadership. Not just me, but the crew that I brought in. It’s been wonderful.”

While the success is nice and a testament to the great work that Morales and the band have been doing since August, Morales says that what’s even more important to him is instilling a sense of camaraderie between the kids and his leadership team.

“The biggest thing that I bring to all of the programs that I’ve worked is making sure that our band kids have a sense of family,” Morales said. “That’s one of those things that brings everyone together. We spend so much time together, so making sure that they feel comfortable here and see that we care for them, they will do anything for us. And that’s what’s been happening.”

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