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2017 BOA San Antonio Preview

It’s time. Arguably the most talked about competition of 2017, the Bands of America San Antonio Super Regional Championship, gets underway Friday at the Alamodome with a powerhouse roster of the nation’s best marching bands.

For the Claudia Taylor Johnson Marching Band, it’s all about putting a performance on the field to cap off a great season.

“You have to finish what you start. That’s the end goal — to be the best you can be at the end of the year,” said senior drum major Taylor Lovato-Cruz.

And the band’s final performances of their 2017 show, “The Forest Through The Trees,” will happen at a venue that has been quite friendly to CTJ since 2011, with one overall first-place title in 2014, two Class AAAA championships, and no placement lower than fifth out of the yearly fields of 60-plus bands.

Johnson performs in preliminary competition on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

“We’re very excited about the chance to get back in the ’Dome,” said Johnson Director of Bands Jarrett Lipman said. “It doesn’t happen often enough, and it really gives the kids a chance to showcase what they’ve done from August 1 until now.”

CTJ’s 2017 performances have been part of the many story lines of the BOA season so far with impressive wins at the BOA Austin and BOA West Texas regional championships. Each finals performance in those events was awarded with a score that at the time was the highest of any school up to that point of the season. CTJ also swept captions in preliminaries and finals competitions in each event.

“We’ve had competitive success at the regional over the past couple of years,” Lipman said. “Johnson has been able to stay high in the pack of a lot of great schools. We’re hoping this year is going to be no different. A season like this one, where we’ve had some success competitively, it definitely boosts [the band’s] confidence going in, but it really hasn’t changed the way we approach things — which is to try and detail and perform at the highest level.”

Johnson will need a peak season performance because of the level of competition among the bands that will be gathered for BOA San Antonio.

“When you talk about the San Antonio Super Regional, a lot of times it’s referred to as the ‘Grand Nationals of the South,’ particularly when you look at the 65 groups that come here, the caliber of their performances, and the bands in Texas and the Southern region of the country,” Lipman said. “It's pretty exciting.”

One addition to this year’s roster of bands is Avon (Ind.), a regular contender for the Grand Nationals championship — and this year is no exception.

“It’s really neat when schools from other states come down, whether it’s from Florida, Indiana, or the Northeast,” Lipman said. “It's exciting to welcome them to San Antonio, and for the kids, it really adds to the idea that this is the ‘Grand Nationals of the South’.”

In addition to CTJ, here’s a look at some of the top bands who will be participating at the Alamodome this weekend:

  • Avon (Ind.), Show — “Test4ment”: Avon has finished in the top three at the BOA Grand Nationals Championships each year since 2007, winning the title three consecutive years in 2008, 2009, and 2010. In BOA competition this year, Avon has finished second to Carmel (Ind.) at the Dayton Regional (by .15 points) and at the Indianapolis Super Regional (by .25 points).

  • Flower Mound, Show — “Fractured Moments”: Flower Mound is the talented defending BOA San Antonio Super Regional champion, winning in 2016 with a score of 93.30. Flower Mound opened its BOA season with a close second-place finish to Hebron at the Southlake Regional and will be making a trip to Grand Nationals next week.

  • Hebron, Show — “Sculpt”: Hebron opened 2017 with an impressive win at the BOA Southlake Regional. Hebron finished fifth at BOA San Antonio a year ago, but in 2015 was the Class AAAA Champion at Grand Nationals and finished third overall.

  • Ronald Reagan, Show — “Us & Them”: Reagan narrowly finished in second place at the BOA Conroe Regional earlier this month and followed it up with a victory in the Texas Marching Classic in Round Rock. Reagan has had two BOA regional championships since the beginning of the 2015 season.

  • Vandegrift, Show — “Symphony of Silence”: Vandegrift finished in second place at BOA Austin but followed that up with a strong performance a few weeks later in winning the Conroe Regional.

  • Leander, Show — “Internal Landscapes”: Leander is always right there. The band finished third at the 2016 BOA San Antonio Super Regional and sixth at Grand Nationals. This year, Leander opened with a fourth-place finish at Austin and a third-place finish at Conroe.

  • The Woodlands, Show — “On the Open Seas”: Despite having its early season practice interrupted by Hurricane Harvey and the resulting flooding, The Woodlands finished in third place at BOA Conroe. The band will be making the trip to Grand Nationals next week, its second trip since winning the Eagle back in 2013.

Other top Texas schools performing include L.D. Bell, James Bowie, Timber Creek, Round Rock, Vista Ridge, Wakeland, Cedar Park, Cedar Ridge, Keller, Keller Central, and Coppell. Each has been a BOA regional finalist this season.

Among the NEISD schools participating in preliminaries, MacArthur performs at 11 a.m. on Friday, Reagan performs at 4 p.m. on Friday, Winston Churchill (a two-time BOA finalist this season and 2017 Grand Nationals participant) performs at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, and James Madison at 5 p.m. on Friday.

Preliminary competition begins on Friday at 8 a.m. with Brandeis, and runs through 7 p.m. on Friday night with Leander. Preliminaries continue on Saturday morning beginning at 7:15 a.m. and close at 4 p.m.

Preliminary awards are scheduled for 4:30 p.m., Saturday. Finalists will be announced at that time, and finals competition begins at 7:30 p.m., Saturday. The two-day schedule is below.

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