The Gonzales Mighty Apache Band made history Saturday, Oct. 14, earning straight first-division marks at the UIL Region 26 Marching Contest and earning a ticket to the UIL Area Marching Contest for the first time in nine years.
When the announcement that Gonzales had scored straight 1s came over the PA system at Giddings High School Stadium, the cheer that erupted from the Apache faithful was nearly as musical as the band had been during their performance a short time earlier.
They now wait to find out when they will take the field at the Area D Marching Contest at the Pfield Stadium in Pflugerville this Saturday, Oct. 21, with an anticipated afternoon start.
The Apaches last earned a trip to the area contest after earning a first-division rating and “Best in Class” score at the Marching Contest in Bastrop in October 2014 as well as a superior rating at the regional UIL contest, also held that year in Giddings. Sadly, the Apaches did not advance past the area round, which was held in Leander that year.
The last time the Apaches earned first-division marks at the Region 26 Marching Contest was 2015; that year was not an advancing year to area for 4A schools.
The common denominators between the 2014, 2015 and 2023 bands are director of bands Ramon Parker and his wife (and junior high band director) Dana Parker — who led the Gonzales band both in 2014 and 2015 before departing — and assistant junior high director Pedro “P.J.” DeLuna III, who graduated from GHS in 2016 and was a member of both the 2014 and 2015 bands.
Along with percussion director Michael Holubec, who joined the Mighty Apache Band four years ago, they have reinstilled a culture of responsibility, excellence and pride among their charges. They have also gotten help from recent graduate Scotty Upshaw, Rory Halpain and Jenna Townsend in restarting the color guard and longtime Texas band director Stan Mauldin, who wrote their drill and mentored the band staff.