FLOWER MOUND They are the sounds that tell you summer is coming to a close. Marching band practice is back in full swing at Flower Mound High School.

But becoming a top-tier band takes more time than you might think.

These teenagers are currently practicing nine-and-a-half hours a day, from 7:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. with a couple of breaks in between.

Five of those hours are spent in an outdoor parking lot.

Lewisville ISD spokeswoman Karen Permetti said the practice lengths are about average statewide. That figure was confirmed by the University Interscholastic League.

'In the month of August, they're trying to get as much accomplished in a short period of time, similar to football,' Permetti explained.

But unlike football, the UIL sets no restrictions on how many hours marching bands can practice for much of the month of August, which is statistically the hottest of the year in North Texas.

'We leave that up to the administration and district administration,' said George Strickland, the UIL's assistant director of state music activities. He does admit that marching band can be as strenuous as some sports. Every year, he says his office fields concerns from parents across Texas about the amount of time their kids are practicing.

'And we explain what the guidelines are, and we encourage them to take it up with local administration,' Strickland said.

At Lewisville ISD, Permetti said every precaution is taken, including water breaks. The teens practice inside during the hottest parts of the day. They'll also go inside any time the heat index is 105 degrees or above.

Permetti also said the district is up front about the commitment required to participate.

'The parents make the decision if it's something they want to do or not,' she said.

Flower Mound High School has not received any complaints this year, and the district spokeswoman cannot recall any medical issues over the past years due to the long practice hours.


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