Someone mentioned in another thread disappointment that their band will miss the game tonight to attend a competition in San Antonio. I posted a really long nerdy reply explaining BOA and band competitions, which I thought I'd post here on "Game Day" for those of you interested.
The competition in San Antonio this weekend that many bands will miss their Friday night football game for is the Bands of America (BOA) Super Regional Championship. This is a two day event, starting today (Friday) with preliminary contest to narrow the field of 50+ bands down to 14 for finals on Saturday night.
BOA is the biggest high school marching band organizers in the nation, and the Texas "Super Regional" is considered perhaps the most competitive outside of the National Championships held in Indianapolis in a couple of weeks. It is a general consensus that Texas has by far the best high school band programs in the nation, followed by Indiana, which makes the San Antonio championship so intense. Typically there will be about 4 or 5 Texas bands that go to the national championship, which will have about 100+ bands, and at least 4 of them will make finals there. Note that nationals is not by invitation, it is open to any band who can afford to go there.
BOA places emphasis on the overall effectiveness of the show, referred to as General Effects, or to the football crowd the "artsy-fartsy" stuff. That's why in a non-UIL year you'll see more esoteric theme based shows. UIL focuses purely on music and marching techniques. The really great bands in the state do both styles very well and are able to craft their shows to compete and win in both competition (i.e. Marcus and LD Bell), while others do much better at UIL but don't place as high at BOA events (i.e. Coppell and Duncanville). Vegas places 2-1 odds on Marcus to win BOA San Antonio, followed closely by Bell, James Bowie and The Woodlands. The rest of the top 14 is wide open.
Planning, preparing and competing in BOA is a long-term process, with bands signing up for this Super Regional show a year in advance, well ahead of the football schedules. That's why you'll see some bands missing in action at this week's football games. When Coppell's band has to miss a game like this, they send their state honor band winner from Middle School North, which interestingly many of the football parents prefer because they play non-stop and fun "football" music in the stands.
For those of you really interested in the BOA activity here is a link to a great site that provides a live blog of the contest, discussion forum and more bando information than you'll ever want.