MIDLOTHIAN - Even though the Midlothian Heritage High School marching band did not advance past the UIL area competition on Saturday, the young program is making great strides, band director Keith Davis said.

Heritage's marching band received a first division ranking at the Oct. 13 UIL marching bands regional contest for the second year in a row and it's second year in existence, Davis said. Every other year, bands in the school's 4A division have a chance to advance to area and state competitions.

Band members, including many freshman, sophomores and juniors, were excited for the chance to reach the next level of competition, he said.

“They were really excited to advance to area. They know it means a lot to be in that competition.

Just in our region, there were a lot of bands that didn't make first division,” he said.

Other bands in the Area B marching band contest for 4A included bands from the Dallas, Ellis and Irving areas, he said. The Heritage band includes 50 members.

“We had a great performance, but you might say we were a little fish in a big pond. We came in 21st out of 23 bands. We were by far one of the smallest groups, if not the smallest. I feel like we had a great season and a lot of success for the first appearance at most of our contests,” Davis said after the contest.

The band's show this year was called Aquatica, using parts of Don Juan, Op. 20 by Richard Strauss.

“We have taken music from different parts of it. Some parts were challenging for the kids. Some parts were technically challenging, some musically challenging,” Davis said. “They also have to convey emotion to the audience and in this case the judges.”

The band did accomplish what he had hoped they would this year, advancing to area and gaining experience for future competition years, he said.

“Especially in our first year, it is difficult to break ground. None of the judges have ever seen or heard us before so there are no preconceived notions of this is a good or a bad program,” he said. “Last year, we did a good job of putting on a good show to prove that we had a good program here.”

The band also has a grand championship at the Lake Whitney Marching Band contest under their belt.

“Now, we move into concert season. I think we're all ready for something fresh and new. That's the great thing about what we do; we work for an extended time on music a single performance or series of performances, but then we get to shift gears and get all new music once that phase of the year is over,” Davis said.