FORNEY, Texas (Forney Independent School District) — With the largest band in Forney High School history, 240 student musicians and their directors placed 8th at the UIL 5A State Marching Band Competition November 1st and 2nd at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

The UIL State Marching Competition is held every 2 years, and this was Forney High’s 7th time advancing to the state level, as they’ve qualified for state every year since 2009. They were also the largest band competing at the state marching competition, and making the finals with an 8th place finish was the highest placement in the school’s history.

“I am extremely proud of the amazing students of the Forney Band who, through their endless dedication to hard work, musicianship and artistry earned their place amongst the most elite high school band program in the state this season culminating in two stunning performances in the Alamodome at the state championships,” FHS Band Director Cody Newman said. “ The growth they’ve shown as an ensemble cannot be understated, but most importantly, the journey they have experienced together and the lifelong friendships they’ve made along the way are the true prize. Thank you students, parents, administrators and community - Forney Family at its finest!”

Their program was entitled, “Flight of Song” and is based on the poem “The Arrow and the Song” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Musical selections included Enigma Variations by Elga, Kingfishers Catchfire by Mackey, Sonoran Desert Holiday by Ron Nelson, and Pegasus Fanfare by John Gibson.

Drum Majors are Maryann Hernandez, Joi Ponce, Brittany Harris, and Cason Russell. Directors are Cody Newman, Erin Funk, Riley Warren, Ben Underbrink, Casey Snead, Shannon Jacobs, Brianna Chapman, Elijah Kojak, Karena Crawford, and Connor McCowan.

The Forney Band has had a successful musical history and is proud of the tradition of excellence within the program. More so, the students are proud of their 2021 show and the meaning behind it, finding Longfellow’s poem at the center of their fall production. The poem’s focus is on how to treat others and the long-lasting impact that can be made with our positive words. Their true goal for the season is to send a message like an arrow, to see this “Flight of Song,” from beginning to end, in the heart of a friend.

“We have such incredible fine arts programs. Our student musicians work extremely hard as they strive for excellence through many hours of practice and competition,” Forney ISD Superintendent Dr. Justin Terry said. “The Forney High Band represented our Forney Family well at the state marching competition, and we are proud to have them as our ambassadors for our district and community at the state level. We are blessed to have Director Cody Newman and his team leading, supporting, and caring for our band students every day. They’ve done an incredible job.”

In addition to their success at the UIL state competition this year, the Forney High Band had the highest ranking in school history at the HEB Marching Contest, Band of America Dallas Regional, and UIL Area Marching Championships.

At the UIL Region Marching Contest, they received straight ones from all of the judges and had the highest ranking (2nd) in school history to advance to the UIL State Marching Championships.

For more information on the Forney High Band and Forney ISD fine arts programs, visit