Waltrip band receives city proclamation

The Waltrip High School Roaring Ram Band, shown playing during a 2022 concert, recently received a proclamation from the City of Houston. (Photo by Landan Kuhlmann)

The Waltrip High School Roaring Ram Band is renowned locally, having played many concerts, events, and ceremonies throughout the area.

Now, they have a day dedicated just to them. During a Houston City Council meeting on March 28, the city of Houston and Mayor Sylvester Turner proclaimed the date as Waltrip Ram Band Day on the heels of winning the SAFE Diversity Battle of the Bands contest.

“The band is beloved and renowned, not just in District C, but throughout the city,” said District C councilmember Abbie Kamin, whose district includes Waltrip. “From playing district concerts where my two-year-old has rocked out to them, to Super Bowl events, and playing so many events throughout Houston – we are so excited to honor them.”

Last week’s honor is another in a long line of accolades and opportunities for the Roaring Ram Band. It has twice performed in Washington D.C. – first at former President Barack Obama’s second inauguration in 2012 – as well as at Super Bowl and Final Four events held in Houston. The Waltrip band has performed Christmastime concerts at the Heights Theater, and just last year played at the Jazz Education Network’s annual conference in Dallas.

The Waltrip band has qualified for the UIL area marching band competition every year since 1997, meaning it has advanced past the regional round every year during that span. That is the longest such streak in HISD

And having a day dedicated to them, simply for the kids doing what they love, is even more special to the ones who lead them – not to mention the encouragement they said it provides for the students in their charge to continue pursuing musical opportunities.

“I’m very blessed that my predecessors, Mr. Stevens and Jesse Espinosa, put me in the right place with these amazing students. We are thankful for every performance opportunity that Houston has given us, and we’re willing to take our band wherever you ask us to go,” director Brenda Corral-Smith said. “And that performance for the kids, this is why they go to school. We need to continue to provide those opportunities and entertainment. Some of my kids are going to study music, and that happens because we expose them to the great opportunities Houston has provided for our band.”

It was also a special moment for new Waltrip principal Rhonda Honore, who arrived at the school this year after four years at Frank Black Middle School.

“The Waltrip community is very special to me. I wanted to continue the impact I had on that community, and I wanted to serve these kids,” she said during This (moment) is one of the reasons why we do what we do. Our kids shine. And it’s organizations like this that allow our students to shine.

Kamin also said that with all of the attention paid recently to HISD and the upheaval amidst the impending takeover of the district by the Texas Education Agency later this year, last week’s proclamation was another chance to show the state and region the strength and resiliency of HISD.

“This right here, this is HISD,” Kamin said as she gestured to members of the band at the back of the room. “And we are so proud of them.”

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