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WHS, WMS marching bands preview 2014 shows tonight

The Trojan Marching Band practices its routine in front of the school Wednesday afternoon in Worthington. Brian Korthals/Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — At the end of the day — 6:30 p.m., to be precise — and after three weeks of marching band drills, the “Spirit of Worthington” Trojan Marching Band will unveil its all-new 2014 parade show, “Les Misérables,” today on Clary Street near Worthington High School (WHS).

“The music this year is exceptional,” promised Jon Loy, director of the 160-member WHS band.

“Our parade show will come to life before your eyes, with vibrant music, beautiful flags and distinctive marching band maneuvers,” Loy continued.

“This is the third year we’ve done a ‘Meet the Trojans’ band preview night in June, and with the Worthington Middle School band joining us this time around, we’re really excited to showcase both marching bands,” he continued.

Loy dreamed a dream for 2014 that involves the stirring music of Claude-Michel Schönberg, arranged by Sioux Falls, S.D., composer/musician Jeremy Hegg, with percussion book by WHS alumnus Matt Tims.

“On Friday night, we’ll travel to the Lake Crystal ‘Battle of the Bands’ parade,” Loy noted. “That’s always super exciting because it’s the first chance to compete with our parade show for the season and receive judges’ comments.

“Our band has performed well at Lake Crystal in past years, receiving first or second place in our class and the People’s Choice Award.”

Meanwhile, Mike Andersen, director of the Worthington Middle School sixth- through eighth-grade band students, will guide his 110 summer charges eastward across town to share in today’s marching band preview.

“Our parade theme is ‘Comic Book Super Heroes,’ so ‘Superman’ and ‘The Avengers’ is what we will perform tonight,” detailed Andersen of the selections he arranged. “We’ll add ‘Batman’ in the fall.”

His 11- to 14-year-old instrumentalists will travel Friday to Valleyfair in Shakopee, where they will entertain amusement park attendees before having a chance to indulge in the rides and attractions themselves.

“Worthington Middle School bands have continued this Valleyfair tradition since the 1990s, and the kids like playing there, but the water rides are what most of them really look forward to,” Andersen added.

Both Andersen and Loy were assisted over the past few weeks in corralling their considerable troops and getting them set for marching performance.

Andersen’s lieutenants included his wife, Sylvia, two former WHS band commanders (Jeremy Majerus and Alex Purdy), a past WHS percussion leader (Brianna Darling) and two past WHS color guard section leaders (Ari Lopez and Rachel Drietz).

Loy’s band staff incorporated Jon Wendt as assistant director; four student commanders (seniors Brianna Kempema, Troy Feller and Orissa Nitibhon, and junior Quinn Bents); color guard assistants Joe Cataneo, Heather Loy and Anna Tims; drumline specialists Deann Naab, Matt Tims and Bryan Maurer; frontline guides Zach Brandt and Claire Bents; and two band consultants (the latter paid for with donations from WAMBO).

“At camp, we were honored to have Brent Turner of Apple Valley help us with visual design and marching execution, and Jennifer Hawkinson of Sioux Falls help us clean up the show,” said Loy. “They were both sponsored by WAMBO (Worthington Area Music Boosters Organization).”

For his part, Andersen said the WMS band students enjoy their band camp experience, which offers some opportunity for socializing while making music.

“It will be a good chance for the community to see just what the middle school band kids can do in a short period of time,” Andersen said of their appearance at tonight’s preview event. “They’ve worked hard and have really done a great job learning and memorizing the music.”

Loy, whose WHS marching band earned several first-place and caption parade awards in 2013 competition, is eager to share the “Les Misérables” show with a Worthington audience before taking it on the road.

After the Lake Crystal parade, the Trojans will break before hitting it hard next fall, with performances at the Minnesota State Fair (Aug. 30), King Turkey Day (Sept. 13), Waseca (Sept. 20), Luverne (Sept. 27), Chester, S.D. (Oct. 3), Algona, Iowa (Oct. 4) and Chamberlain, S.D. (Oct. 11).

Their season will culminate at the Outback Bowl Parade in Tampa, Fla., on Dec. 31.

The WHS and WMS 2014 marching band preview is today at 6:30 p.m. on Clary Street in front of Worthington High School. WAMBO will sell root beer floats as part of its ongoing fundraising efforts in support of District 518 music programs.