CANYON The Sound of West Texas is heavy metal in 2023.
The West Texas A&M University marching band’s show—debuting during the Sept. 9 WT Football game against Adams State University in Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium—will pay homage to legendary rock band Metallica, featuring classic hits like “Fade to Black,” “Enter Sandman,” “Master of Puppets” and more, a press release said.
Plus, the 160-member WT band will be entered in a contest to be judged by Metallica itself. Bands from around the country are competing to win musical instruments for their programs, furnished by Metallica and its sponsors, as part of the band’s “For Whom the Band Tolls” contest.
“We aren’t just paying tribute,” said Dr. B.J. Brooks, director of the marching band and the WT School of Music, in the release. “We’re channeling the essence of Metallica’s artistry and presenting it through our unique medium. This performance will be a celebration of creativity, bridging the gap between genres and showcasing the universality of great music.”
Brooks said that the marching band’s visual elements also will reflect Metallica’s music and career.
“We’ll be forming such iconic imagery as the snake emblem, the band’s lightning bolt, the Metallica ‘M’ and a striking skull,” Brooks said.
Metallica recently opened their music catalog for such use, Brooks said.
“There are some really great charts included, and many of the marching band students were unfamiliar with the music of Metallica,” Brooks said. “It has been a bit of a tradition for WT to include as much variety in our shows as possible. Featuring 10 Metallica hits ought to set us apart from most other band’s take on this music.”
The marching band is comprised of music majors and nonmajors alike and is a longtime anchor of WT’s School of Music in the Sybil B. Harrington College of Fine Arts and Humanities.
The band began a week of full-day rehearsals Aug. 14; percussion and color guard members started with a half-day of rehearsals Aug. 11.
Head drum major is Tobin Brooks, a senior music major from Canyon.
Assistant drum majors are Erin Hinds, a senior music education major from Amarillo; and Dillon Martin, a junior music education major from Odessa. Drum majors lead the band during rehearsals and in performance.
Dr. Brooks is the father of Tobin Brooks.
Guard captain is Abigail Hite, a senior music major from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and assistant captains are Jazmyn McKeel, a sophomore music major from Wylie, and Coby Mount, a senior music education major from Coahoma. Guard captains assist Dr. Brooks in preparing their squad for performances.
Lead marching techs are Maxwell Gray, a senior music major from Tomball; Ethan Hughes, a senior music major from Wichita Falls; Cyrus Jackson, a junior music education major from Baytown; and Faith Powell, a junior music education major from Amarillo. The marching techs are responsible for organizing the marching and visual technique for the band.
Assistant marching techs are Damonusess “DJ” Brooks Jr., a junior music major from Houston; Shawn Frausto, a senior music education major from Amarillo; Joey Henriquez, a senior music major from Arlington; Alex Lam, a senior music education major from Sachse; Jeran Nolen, a junior music education major from Stinnett; Isaiah Nanez, a sophomore music education major from Dumas; Sydney Fishburn, a senior music education major from Spearman; and Maddlyn Worley, a senior music education major from Amarillo.
Marching techs help teach and polish the marching show.
Backfield conductors are Seth Meason, a junior music education major from Amarillo; Jack Montgomery, a sophomore music education major from College Station; and Spencer Owens, a senior music education major from Levelland.
Assistant marching band director is Guglielmo Manfredi, professor of music.
Fostering an appreciation of the arts is a key component of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.
That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021— has raised more than $125 million and will continue through 2025.