By Audrey Spencer

The Cove Herald

The Pride of Cove earned another reason to stay proud last weekend by winning the first-place trophy for 5A schools at the U.S. Scholastic Band Association Regional contest in Converse.

They also took home awards for best color guard and best overall effect in the 5A division for their Beatles- themed musical show.

"I picked it because I wanted a fun show, something less serious than your typical marching show," said Randy Kelley, Copperas Cove High School band director. "The more the crowd gets crazy, the more the kids like to perform."

The USSBA show was the third competition for the school this year. This weekend, they go to the University Interscholastic League Marching Contest at Waco ISD Stadium, where they will perform at 5:30 p.m.

"The U.S. Scholastic Band Association is a totally different format from UIL," said Kelley. UIL competitions are judged overall by three judges, whereas USSBA competitions have six judges for different aspects of the show.

Directors also get written and verbal feedback on their shows from USSAB judges, as well as a chance to meet and speak with them after awards are announced.

"It's very very educational for kids and for directors," said Kelley.

Saturday's performance had some members of the band worried, until awards were announced.

"I was nervous at first, because in the front ensemble, we hold ourselves to high expectations," said Kinzi Courtney, 16, a member of the percussion section. "I think it's a really fun show though. I feel pretty confident about UIL."

But stress is just one aspect of competitions for the 250-member band.

"I think competitions are the most fun thing ever," said Chrissa Link, 17, one of the three color guard captains. "They're long, but I get to spend time with friends I consider my family."

As a 5A school, the CCHS band cannot advance in this year's UIL performance. In odd-numbered years, only 1A, 2A and 4A schools advance. In even-numbered years, 3A and 5A schools get their opportunity.

"That's one reason we went to one extra pre-UIL contest," said Kelley. "Especially when we're having as much fun with the show as we are."

The Beatles-themed show has proved popular at games and performances, with standing ovations from both Cove and rival fans, said Kelley.

"When our band walks in the gate, they erupt," he said. "There's so much fun stuff in it, the crowd is cheering pretty much throughout the whole show ... It's mostly parents, but we have a really good following."

Contact Audrey Spencer at or (254) 501-7476.

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