WT Marching Band Advances to Final Round of Metallica Contest


 CANYON, Texas — The Sound of West Texas is continuing to rock into 2024. 

The West Texas A&M University marching band has advanced to the finals of metal band Metallica’s “For Whom the Band Tolls” contest. 

Bands from around the country are competing to win musical instruments for their programs, furnished by Metallica and its sponsors. 

The 160-member WT band recently was notified that it is ranked in the Top 5 in Collegiate Division 2 and 3, alongside Blinn College, Eastern New Mexico University, Manchester University and Western Illinois University. 

Metallica members will select the prize winner in each of the five categories, which also include Collegiate Division 1, Small High School, Medium High School and Large High School. Winners will be announced in January. Fan Favorite voting will continue through Dec. 31. 

WT’s show features classic hits like “Fade to Black,” “Enter Sandman,” “Master of Puppets” and more. 

“We aren’t just paying tribute,” said Dr. B.J. Brooks, director of the marching band and the WT School of Music. “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 reflects 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. 

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. 

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 One West comprehensive fundraising campaign, which reached its initial $125 million goal 18 months after publicly launching in September 2021. The campaign’s new goal is to reach $175 million by 2025; currently, it has raised more than $150 million. 

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs and more than 40 graduate degrees, including two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections.