Fifty-six Stephenville High School students will participate in the 2014 Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, capping off an exciting semester for the Yellow Jacket Band.

According to Director Mike Childs, the marching band will travel to New Orleans where they will rehearse with the mass band and learn from nationally acclaimed adjudicators. The group was invited by WorldStrides Heritage Performance, a group that gives orchestra, band, choir and dance/cheer students the opportunity to travel and perform across the country.

Childs, who has been teaching for 17 years, will lead the students in New Orleans.

"We are so excited to have the opportunity to travel to the Sugar Bowl on a WorldStrides Heritage Performance program," he said. 

The Sugar Bowl is one of many exciting things happening for SHS band members.

"We've also got students involved in so much more," he said. "The 2013 Yellow Jacket Marching Band recently completed a very successful competition season."

When the band traveled to Burleson in October, they competed against bands in 3A, 4A and 5A, placing second with their production of George Bizet's Carmen, which was well received by the judges and the audience. They also won "Best in Class," "Overall Effect" and "Best Colorguard" awards.

On Oct. 12, the band traveled to The Paluxy Valley Marching Festival in Glen Rose and placed sixth overall in the finals. They also won the "Best in Class" caption award for 3A. The annual UIL competition was Oct. 19 in Glen Rose and the marching band finished their competition season with straight ones from the judges, which is the highest rating that can be given.

"I'm very proud of this year's group," said Childs. "We've been putting in rehearsal time both in class and at home to make this production one of the strongest we've had in several years. It's certainly paid off. We have a really strong student leadership that consistently sets a great example for the rest of the band."

Moving into individual competition season, the band continues to grow in strength and bring home successes. Childs said the group, which gets into more individual competitions in the new year, is already showing success as this semester draws to a close.

SHS jazz ensemble had several members selected to the regional jazz band earlier in the year. In fact, the jazz ensemble had 14 of 19 students auditioning for the Region 7 ATSSB jazz band in September be selected to one of the two bands, which have 20 spots on each. Eight of those students also recorded an audition for the All-State Band. They include Cade Schmutz, Jace Willis, Ryan Drake, Ste'fon Landers, Josh McLatchy, Brandon Kopp, Eric Lawson and Jett Tiner.

Following the recordings, Childs said the band was told in mid-November that junior trumpet player Jace Willis was selected as third chair trumpet in the All-State Jazz Band and senior Ste'fon Landers was selected as first alternate to the band on alto saxophone. Willis, as a second year jazz ensemble member, is a student of Dr. Brian Walker.

The Region 7 jazz band 1 recipients were Cade Schmutz - trumpet 1; Jace Willis - trumpet 3; Reagan Drake - trumpet 4; Ryan Drake - bass trombone; Ste'fon Landers - alto saxophone 1; Morgan Cavitt - alto saxophone 2; Josh McLatchy - baritone saxophone and Brandon Kopp - bass. Band 2 students were Hayden Bernays - trumpet 1; Kameron Crew - trumpet 2; Eric Lawson - trombone 1 and Jett Tiner - tenor saxophone 2. Alternates were Stone Huckabee and Nick McLatchy.

On Dec. 14, 26 members of the Yellow Jacket Band traveled to Tolar for the Region 7 All-Region band auditions. Of the 26, 19 were placed in a band and eight advanced to the area round in January. They include Morgan Cavitt, Bianca Serrano, Racheal Tuggle, Lukas Cain, Jace Willis, Reagan Drake, Cade Schmutz, Ryan Drake, Seth Barberee, Garrett Bratton, Ste'fon Landers, Hayden Bernays, Jacob Martin, Morgan Harmon, Jett Tiner, Hunter Wells, Nick McLatchy, Brandon Kopp and Noble Alexander. These students will be participating in the Region Band Clinic and Concert to be held at Tarleton State University's Stephenville campus on Jan. 17-18.

The band is directed on the field by senior drum majors Garrett Bratton and Cade Schmutz. Band directors are Andrew Nance, Michel Wimberly, Camron Green and the head director is Childs. The colorguard director is Stephanie Childs.