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Tooting their own horns

The Adrian Marching Dragons Band performs to "The Phantom of the Opera" during the parade competition of the Tri-State Band Festival Saturday morning in Luverne. (BETH RICKERS/DAILY GLOBE)

Area bands excel at Tri-State Band Festival

LUVERNE -- Students en route to the Tri-State Band Festival in Luverne on Saturday morning anticipated a soggy march ahead of them.

"The bus was leaking," said Matt Welter, a saxophone player in the Stewartville Marching Tigers Band, who awoke at 4:52 a.m. Saturday to make the cross-state journey to Luverne. "The emergency exits had water coming through them."

The rain and gray skies endured all the way to Luverne, but just before the 10 a.m. parade time, the precipitation dried up and the sun came out, resulting in perfect weather conditions for marching.

Twenty bands from Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota made their way down Luverne's main drag on Saturday morning, avoiding puddles, tooting their own horns and strutting their stuff for the panel of judges and assembled supporters.

Luverne's annual September festival celebrated its 60th year of high school marching competition by feting members of its own 1951-'52 Luverne High School Marching Band -- the first band to march down the Luverne streets six decades ago -- as parade marshals and presenting anniversary awards to longtime participants.

Joining Luverne High School at the 60-year mark was Pipestone Area High School Marching Band.

Fifty-year participation trophies were presented to the marching bands from Adrian, Tracy, Sioux Center (Iowa), West Lyon (Iowa) and Worthington; 40 years, Sibley-Ocheyedan (Iowa) and Brandon Valley (S.D.); and 30 years, Boyden-Hull (Iowa) and Murray County Central.

But what the bands were really after were the coveted competition trophies. To achieve one of those, they had to please the Tri-State Band judges, a panel based out of Decorah, Iowa, that provides services for parades, festivals, field shows and marching band clinics throughout the Midwest. Wearing bright red shirts that made them highly visible along the parade route, seven judges scrutinized each band as it progressed down the street, talking into a small tape recorder in order to provide feedback for the bands. Their critiques continued long after each band had passed the reviewing stand and often included hand gestures that wouldn't be translated onto the tiny tapes.

According to judge Steve Lyons, who teaches band at Champlin Park High School and part-time at St. Cloud State University, the bands in the parade competition were being evaluated in six categories; music general effect, visual performance, visual general effect, music execution, color guard and percussion. Lyons had the duty of judging the percussion, his particular specialty.

"We're looking for togetherness, that all members are projecting as one unit, one style," he explained about attributes the judges sought. "Of course, playing their instruments well and making beautiful sounds is important. Can we hear all your instruments? Are they contributing equally?"

For Lyons, evaluating the participating schools' efforts was a pleasurable way to spend a weekend.

"I love applauding and acknowledging the hard work these kids do," he said.

Shortly after the parade wrapped up at noon, the field competition got under way at the Luverne football field. Fourteen schools were scheduled for the field maneuvers.

The K.M. Getman Award, which is presented to the band that throughout the competition demonstrates pride, spirit, enthusiasm, friendliness and unity, was presented to Stewartville High School. The Overall Sweepstakes Award went to Washington High School, Sioux Falls, S.D. Complete results of the two competitions are as follows:

Class A1 Parade

First Place: Murray County Central High School

Second Place: Adrian High School

Class A Parade

First Place: Sibley-Ocheyedan High School

Second Place: Lennox, S.D., High School

Class A Field

First Place: Sibley-Ocheyedan High School

Second Place: Lennox High School

Outstanding Wind: Sibley-Ocheyedan High School

Outstanding Percussion: Lennox High School

Outstanding Auxiliary: Lennox High School

Outstanding Drum Major: Sibley-Ocheyedan High School

Class AA Parade

First Place: Stewartville High School

Second Place: West Central, S.D., High School

Class AA Field

First Place: Pipestone Area High School

Second Place: Madison, S.D., High School

Outstanding Wind: Pipestone Area High School

Outstanding Percussion: Pipestone Area High School

Outstanding Auxiliary: Pipestone Area High School

Outstanding Drum Major: Pipestone Area High School

Class AAA Parade

First Place: Brandon Valley High School

Second Place: Worthington High School

Class AAA Field

First Place: Brandon Valley High School

Second Place: O'Gormon High School, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Outstanding Wind: Brandon Valley High School

Outstanding Percussion: Brandon Valley High School

Outstanding Auxiliary: Brandon Valley High School

Outstanding Drum Major: Brandon Valley High School

Class AAAA Parade

First Place: Washington High School

Class AAAA Field

First Place: Roosevelt High School, Sioux Falls, S.D.

Second Place: Washington High School

Outstanding Wind: Roosevelt High School

Outstanding Percussion: Roosevelt High School

Outstanding Auxiliary: Roosevelt High School

Outstanding Drum Major: Washington High School

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

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