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Marching band wraps up season

By Wendy Sweeter,


The High School marching band attended five street competitions this year. They also performed their first field event. Photo: Courtesy of Tea Area High School marching band.

The high school and middle school bands have wrapped up their Fall marching band season.

The high school band debuted new uniforms, but due to shipping delays, they did not have them until their second competition. However, their hats were back ordered and only arrived a couple of weeks ago.

“Our old uniforms were about 15 years old and were starting to show their wear. The new uniforms are very sharp and we’ve had lots of compliments about them,” said Stephanie Wranek, high school band director.

The high school band attended five street competition and performed their first field show three times at home. The 76 band members learned a field show for the first time by attending a summer camp where they learned how to read drill charts and how to understand the directions.

“All of the lines on a football field seem like common knowledge to some - yard lines, hash marks, etc. - but for some who don’t follow football or soccer, it’s a new experience,” Wranek said.

The high school band placed first in Luverne and second at Arlington, Chester, Parker and the Festival of Bands. Sioux Falls Christian scored higher than them at Arlington, Chester and Parker and then Waseca, Minn., beat them at Festival of Bands.

Their success comes from the work ethic of the students and the help of their coaching team.

Tim Dingman, assistant marching band director; Katie Jensen helped with color guard; and Jacob Hubers helped with percussion.

“A positive, determined work ethic by the students is what made our season a success. They just kept pressing on and learning new things, trying each day to make something better,” Wranek said.

The seventh and eighth grade band went to three street competitions this fall in Parker, Arlington and Chester. In the past they have only done two competitions.

They placed second at Arlington and won best color guard. They were first at Arlington and Chester.

For the first time, the middle school band marched with tonal bass drums, which means members play their own pitch during the percussion cadence and the song.

“The bass drummers really embraced the challenge and worked together. I appreciate Aleah marching the heaviest bass drum 4 and Slater, Daphne and Lilly for their extra work,” said middle school band director Mary Beth Sutton.

The 104 seventh and eighth grade band members now rehearse at different times during the school day so that posed a challenge for rehearsal time together. Middle school principal Michael Bullis helped them by adjusting the schedule to allow for weekly joint rehearsals and the kitchen staff opened a fourth lunch time to accommodate the band students.

To prepare for the season, they chose drum majors and color guard and drumline auditioned last spring. The color guard practices throughout the summer. Many of the students memorized the song over the summer. Having band in the school day schedule every day was a game changer, Sutton said.

Alumna Hannah Hank wrote a creative, challenging routine for the color guard and spent hours over the summer teaching it to the color guard. The middle school band also had the support of many parents who chaperoned or worked behind the scenes.

In order to improve, band members also listened to judges’ feedback.

“The kids listened to what the judges commented on at the parades and we made adjustments based on the judges’ feedback,” Sutton said.


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