Fine Arts UIL takes center stage

Upcoming UIL Theatre, Choir and Band competitions

Story by: Lydia Estepp, Feature Editor

Every year, thousands of students from all over the state gather together for University Interscholastic League (UIL), an opportunity to compete against other schools in academic, athletic and artistic competitions.

Many fine arts electives, such as choir, theater and band have their own UIL competitions where they put their musical and creative skills to the test.

The theater department prepared for the UIL season with auditions – which took place Tuesday, Jan 26 – for their one act play titled “Picnic.”

Senior Kaci Jackson, who has participated in UIL one act plays for the past three years, prepared for UIL by researching the play and the genre.

“The show we picked sounds like a really good one,” Jackson said. “I’m just excited to see all the new things we’ll be able to do with it.”

In theater UIL, each school involved puts together an 18-40 minute play performed in front of one to three judges and a public audience.

“This is a tradition that Cy Creek does, and it’s a tradition with a lot of schools in the Cy-Fair district,” Jackson said. “UIL is a huge deal to us.”

UIL rules place certain limitations on each school’s set, costuming and script, and at competition each play’s set pieces – with the exception of the UIL set pieces given to the group – must fit into a taped off box on the floor.

“You have to be really good at tetris,” Jackson said.

Jackson said she feels especially excited for this play because, along with many other seniors, this play marks her final year competing in UIL one act play.

“Each show kind of brings its own memories,” Jackson said. “I think my favorite memory is my freshman year, getting to experience everything for the first time.”

The choir UIL competition consists of both Solo and Ensemble categories and took place Friday, Jan. 22 and Saturday, Jan. 23.

Senior Hannah Freeman, a choir member since middle school, said she feels prepared for this year’s choir UIL competition.

“We’ve picked some really good songs for our ensemble, and we’ve been working really hard on it,” Freeman said. “We picked some advanced stuff that we don’t usually do.”

Freeman said she enjoys working in small ensemble groups because of the individual practice.

“It’s like a good opportunity to get away from the big choir and just work on yourself and how you sing,” Freeman said. “You show up on the day and walk into the room and just give it your all.”

Band Solo and Ensemble UIL competitions begin Feb. 5 and 6, and Concert Band UIL will start in the spring.

Sophomore Prachi Shah, a band member since the seventh grade, said the band prepares for the fall season Marching UIL competition with a month of summer band practice.

“We practice the marching show for about three to four hours a day outside in the billion degree weather,” Shah said. “Solo and Ensemble prep is entirely independent at home or after school.”

Shah said she enjoys the more laid-back nature of the Solo and Ensemble competitions over the stressful group contests.

“Solo and Ensemble is much more relaxed because it’s individual,” Shah said. “You just show up a few minutes before your assigned time, warm up on your own, perform, and get your score.”

In Concert Band UIL, which begins in the spring, the Concert II, Concert I and Symphonic bands each play one concert march, one fast song and one slow song. The bands then go into separate rooms and are given a brand-new piece of music to sightread.

“The music we had for marching and the music we are going to play for concert is pretty nice, so that’s exciting,” Shah said. “Also, if I do Solo and Ensemble, I can get my letter jacket.”