Middle School Extravaganza

The Eastern Hills Middle School band plays Saturday during the Killeen ISD Middle School Extravaganza at Leo Buckley Stadium.

TODD MARTIN/KISD

A large, supportive audience expressed their approval repeatedly as nine middle school bands showed off their musical skills while getting an early look at high school band.

The 14th annual Middle School Extravaganza, know as MSX, included two acts of four and five bands apiece with an intermission in between and a mass band conclusion.

The host of the longtime tradition, Harker Heights High School Red Brigade Band, played with the nine middle school bands in the finale of the Saturday showcase at Leo Buckley Stadium.

“It’s important because it connects them to high school band,” said Union Grove Middle School band director Jason Maine. “They can see the Harker Heights band here and it’s a personal touch that they get to perform.”

At the start, four middle school bands stood on the field facing the home stands, each playing one at a time. Manor, Union Grove, Eastern Hills and Nolan middle schools made up the first group.

Following an intermission, Audie Murphy, Rancier, Liberty Hill, Smith and Patterson performed one at a time. Finally, all nine middle school bands and the Harker Heights High School band took the field for a finale.

“I hope they enjoyed the music and leave with some perspective of what other middle school bands are doing,” Maine said.

“It gives them an opportunity to be on the field and see what it’s like and to get to be with a marching band,” said Nolan Middle School band director Johan Rodriguez.

A little time on the field in front of a big crowd, he said, helps students begin to decide if they want to take on high school band, which begins with marching practice in July and continues through the fall with football halftime shows and marching competition.

“These kids work hard,” Rodriguez said. “To get middle school students out here is a great encouragement for them to keep going.”

Smith Middle School band director Alex Gonzalez agreed MSX is a unique chance for young students to get a peek of the world of high school band.

“They are getting a chance,” he said, “to see what their future will look like in high school band and they are getting to perform for a big crowd.”

Proceeds from MSX are split between the participating band programs.

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