DIBOLL — For the first time in 32 years, the Diboll High School band has won sweepstakes at the UIL band competition.

The UIL Sweepstakes is designed to reward excellence in the three most measurable aspects of public school band curriculum — marching, prepare concert performance and ability to sight read music “on the spot,” according to a statement by Diboll ISD administration.

The students said they were psyched and excited.

“When we finished both of our performances, we could tell we did really good,” senior band president Adrian Reyes said.

“We just feel like the best Diboll has had in 32 years,” senior trumpet player Victor Garcia said.

“For all the hard work to pay off like this and to leave this behind is awesome,” senior drum major Devan Shea said.

Adrian said they want this to be the legacy they leave for the next generation of Diboll band.

“This is our legacy that we’ve started,” he said. “We want to make it a dynasty that keeps going.”

To win sweepstakes, the band must be graded a one on each of the competitions and at each level of competition from the beginning of the year on.

“At each performance we get judged by three different judges, and they’ll give us a rating of one through five,” Victor said.

The judges rate the players on a bit of everything, Adrian said — tone quality, projection, rhythmic accuracy, articulation, etc. At each level the judges gave the students comments.

This year’s band is made up of a lot of underclassmen, Devan said. There are seven seniors and four juniors — the rest of the some 40-odd members are freshmen and sophomores.

“The band family really pushed us over the edge,” Adrian said. “The way we interact with each other — we’re all friends here. When it comes to getting down to business, we all know how we need to play, how we need to act, how we need to set our mind before we go into it. We’re striving for making a difference in this through the band, so that people can see this is a fun community. We put that into our music and the way that we play.”

“I think that since it’s our last year, we all pushed each other to go farther,” senior baritone player Hannah Phillips said.

“We wanted to end it all for the sweepstakes to say this is what we’re leaving off on; this is our high note,” Devan said. “We want to encourage others that it is possible and they can go farther.”

Director of bands Todd Dock said the students came close to sweepstakes last year.

“The kids are ecstatic, I’m ecstatic, the community is; we are all just so happy,” director of bands Todd Dock said. “Some people who were in that band 32 years ago still work and live around here, so it’s something they really wanted to see, too.”

This is Dock’s second year as director of bands for Diboll ISD. He said seeing how close they came last year was a great motivator for the students.

“They wanted to make sure that it really happened this year,” he said. “The amount of growth that happened this year is pretty phenomenal.”

There are a lot of issues to battle in the band, but the students’ work ethic was never one of them, Dock said.

“That’s pretty much all a director can ask for when it comes to their kids,” Dock said. “They really rolled up their sleeves and got after it.”

Grace Juarez’s email address is grace.juarez@lufkindailynews.com.