Claudia Taylor Johnson High School Marching Band: Opposites Attract

A photo of Claudia Taylor Johnson Marching Band.
2021 Bands of America Preview – In a piano duel on the marching field, the Claudia Taylor Johnson Marching Band showcases how yin and yang forces bring people together.

Article sponsored by DeMoulin Brothers and Company

You can make music on the white keys, and you can make music on the black keys, but you need them both to make truly great music.

The Claudia Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson (CTJ) High School Marching Band from San Antonio, Texas, brings an extraordinary piano duel to the marching arts field in its 2021 show, “Opposites Attract.” Featuring the music of Sergei Rachmaninoff, Francis Poulenc, Billy Joel, Elton John, and Ben Folds, CTJ’s 11-minute production will have audience members singing along with classics like “Piano Man” and “She’s Always a Woman.” At the same time, the visual presentation will dazzle the crowd with high-velocity drill and iconic imagery that illustrates the yin and yang of life coming together to make people stronger.

“We want the crowd to fall in love with our performers each time they take the field,” says Jarrett Lipman, director of bands at Claudia Taylor Johnson. “Our message in 2021 to our audiences is that even as opposite as we may be, we are stronger together. Our show ends with Elton John’s ‘Your Song,’ and we want our students to share the gift of music with those they love to remind everyone how wonderful life can be when we come together.”

Staying Positive

The last 18 months have been challenging due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and the Bands of America (BOA) Grand National Championships this year offers the CTJ band an opportunity to share its uplifting performance with audiences on a national stage.

“We’re so excited to return to Grand Nationals and participate in Bands of America events again this year,” says Aidan Souder, CTJ head drum major. “Nationals is the best way we could end my senior marching season.”

In 2020, the band competed in Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL) events with a goal of keeping its performers healthy as it strived to get to the State Marching Band Contest in person. In 2020, Claudia Taylor Johnson won its first UIL 6A championship.

The band has continued many safety protocols from the 2020 season that kept the performers physically and mentally healthy. Throughout this period, the band’s mantra has been “Stay POSITIVE, test NEGATIVE.”

Inspiring Hope

Claudia Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson High School opened in 2008 as it split off from Ronald Reagan High School in the North East Independent School District. In addition to its 2020 UIL 6A state title, the CTJ band is a three-time BOA Grand Nationals finalist, eight-time BOA regional champion, and was named the 2014 UIL 6A state bronze medalist. CTJ performed at the 125th Tournament of Roses Parade in 2014 and is also a proud Sudler Shield recipient.

The high school is named for former First Lady Claudia Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson, known for her passion for wildflowers and adding beauty to the world. She famously said, “Where flowers bloom, so does hope,” and the CTJ band program aims to inspire hope wherever it goes.

Also read our preview of the Avon Marching Black and Gold’s 2021 show.

© 2021. Photo by Kelly Cardenas. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Jarrett Lipman is the director of bands at Claudia Taylor “Lady Bird” Johnson High School in San Antonio, Texas. Lipman directs the marching band, co-conducts the wind ensemble, and assists with the symphony band, concert bands, and jazz ensembles.

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2009 DCI Champions

Highlights and resulte of the 2009 Drum Corps International World Championships. From Halftime Magazine, a print publication and online community about the marching arts.