In October, the Lytle Pirate Band began their competition year successfully by earning straight 1st Division ratings from the UIL Region XI Marching Contest judges. On Wednesday, March 1st, the Pirate Band returned to UIL Competition for the Region XI Concert and Sight-Reading Contest. Picking up where they left off in October, the band earned 1st Divisions in both portions of the contest. Having received the top rating in all three events this year, the Pirate Band earns the designation as a UIL “Sweepstakes” band for only the fourth time in school history (1971-72, 2008-09, 2011-12, 2016-17). The last three of these were under the direction of Mark Fender. Mr. Fender is assisted by Mary Jean Robles.
The UIL Concert judges gave high praise to the Lytle Band for several different aspects of their performance. Judge Eddie Benitez said “Good tone qualities… Nice ensemble sound… Nice, controlled dynamic contrasts.” Charles Aruaga remarked “the intonation and tonal quality are exceptionally good – Nice percussion work in ‘Steppes of Russia.’” Chico Portillo was greatly impressed by the musicality of the band, saying “This is a very musical group! Wonderful musical nuances given the many different styles of music you played today! What a special group! Bravo!”
The UIL Sight-Reading judges were also very complimentary. Judge Ed Stein wrote “There were some “traps” in the piece and the students handled the vast majority of them very well! Good reading of all those accidentals!”
Band Director Mark Fender say, "It has been a very enjoyable year for me as the LHS Band Director. The students have demonstrated a high level of musical maturity and dedication, which has allowed us to program music (both for marching and for concert seasons) that both I and they have enjoyed. It has been an absolute pleasure working with such a talented and committed group of students."