FORT WORTH — Powerful melodies slip into Joshua Foster’s sleep.Of late, the 17-year-old band student even feels rhythm when he eats.The music is Medea’s Dance of Vengeance, Prayer of St. Gregory and the Call of Duty video game theme. Together, it becomes Nocturne, a performance that Foster has practiced for many hours. It’s a marching band production that he hopes will make Southwest High School state champion.The Southwest Raider band will compete Tuesday in the Class 4A UIL state marching contest at San Antonio’s Alamodome. It’s the Raiders’ second trip to state finals. “It’s very amazing,” said Foster, who plays center snare drum. “Everyone has been talking about it in all our classes.” Twenty-eight Class 4A high schools are scheduled to perform in the preliminary round of competition before 10 bands advance to the finals. Class A and 2A bands compete Monday, also at the Alamodome.Other local high school bands competing for the 4A title are Boswell, Mansfield Lake Ridge and Azle.The TCU marching band will perform an exhibition at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday, before the Class 4A finals begin.While marching bands from A, 2A and 4A high schools advanced to state this year, 3A and 5A finished at regional competitions and will have a run for state next year.Southwest is the only high school in the Fort Worth school district to ever compete at this level, district officials said.The Raider band advanced to state level competition after placing in the top four bands in their area contest at Bedford’s Pennington Field on Oct. 26. Since then, the 160-member band has been perfecting its performance.The Raider band has been practicing before school and during band class. The band also traveled to Highland Park High School and Fort Worth’s Clark Stadium to practice in different facilities.“We are trying to clean things up … take the music and the marching to the next level,” said Andrew Ortiz, 17, a trumpet player.The band’s performance piece, Nocturne, has four sections that take audiences on a musical and visual journey, said assistant band director Jeff DeMaagd.DeMaagd said band members stand out because they are dedicated to their work.“They really understand the connection between work and achieving things,” DeMaagd said.After a Thursday morning practice, several band members said they need to keep improving because of the level of competition at state.Band Director Stacey Dunn urged the band to try “150 percent” in San Antonio.“After the preliminaries, only the top 10 return at night for finals,” Dunn said. “That’s very intense.”Excitement built throughout the week. The band’s Facebook page, Southwest Raider Band, was the go-to site for updates.“I’m excited,” said Zsa Zsa Hampton, 17, the band’s drum major.Ezra Caballero, 16, who plays the mellophone, said he couldn’t put into words how happy he felt when he learned the band was headed to state.But as the days drew closer to the Alamodome contest, Caballero found his words.“I feel amazing,” he said. “I feel like I accomplished one of my high school goals,” he said.
Diane Smith, 817-390-7675 Twitter: @dianeasmith1