Spirit Spectacular

The Ellison High School Emeralds dance team uses umbrella props during the band's Mary Poppins-themed show during the 37th annual Spirit Spectacular at Leo Buckley Stadium. The show featured all four Killeen ISD high school bands.

Todd Martin

Dark themes of shadows and witches mingled with Mary Poppins umbrellas during an entertaining evening of spectacular spirit.

The 37th annual Spirit Spectacular on Sept. 9 featured the four Killeen ISD high school bands and thrilled a large Buckley Stadium audience with dance team members’ high kicks and flips, marching drill and plenty of brass and drum. The event, normally staged the weekend before the start of school as a culmination of summer band, gave audience members a little extra this year — about two weeks’ extra.

“I think we’re doing really well,” said Ellison High School senior drum major Janovia Brown. “It was good we had more time to prepare.” The event was postponed two weeks due to the threat of storms.

The Ellison High School Screaming Eagles Band, the longtime host of the band fundraiser first held the end-of-summer exhibition in 1980, just a couple of years after the school opened.

Over the years, it has featured bands from neighboring communities but in recent years has been a KISD affair, showcasing the early stages of competition shows for Killeen, Ellison, Harker Heights and Shoemaker high school bands.

The Ellison performance, which came last in the program featured music from the Mary Poppins musical in a show called “Rooftops of London.”

“I like the Emeralds’ umbrellas,” Brown said. “As we go further into the show, we’ll add chimneys. We want to build the excitement.”

Harker Heights High School drum major senior Judson Hayden was excited about the visual pieces of his group’s show, called “Salem.”

“It has a lot of visuals,” he said. “The band is doing a great job keeping up with all the material we are giving them.” He said an orchestral section near the beginning of the show seemed to get everyone pumped up.

Though he is in his second year as drum major, Hayden said the feeling of leading the band on the field never fades in excitement.

“It gets me pumped up every time,” he said. “It’s really exciting and everyone is so super engaged in everything we’re doing.”

Following a halftime performance, Killeen High School senior drum major Oliver Mintz said the band’s show “Shadows Unleashed” was an interesting contrast of styles.

“There is some lively music and some darker themes, too,” he said at that time. “I like the contrast.”

Shoemaker High School senior drum major Mia Shaw said her band’s “Unbound” show about breaking down walls that divide seemed to represent the band and its perseverance.

“I think the show represents us as a whole,” she said. “We hit a rough spot and we keep going. I like the music. It’s dark and exciting.”

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