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Trojan band earns top honors in weekend parades

“Spirit of Worthington” Trojan band marching commanders (from left) Jeremy Majerus, Alex Purdy, Jaren Solt and Brianna Kempema pose as they await the band’s awards at Saturday’s Algona, Iowa, Band Day Parade. (Submitted Photo)
WORTHINGTON — With five of its six appearances now complete in the 2013 fall parade season, the “Spirit of Worthington” Trojan marching band is bringing home the hardware and proving to be a positive representative for the community.
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“The kids really put forward their best effort this weekend, and the results speak for themselves,” commended Worthington High School (WHS) band director Jon Loy, who heads the 130-member group. “This was the time for them to lay it all out there for the judges, and they did what needed to be done.”Friday’s performance at the Lake Area Festival of Bands in Chester, S.D., netted the Trojans a score of 190, the highest point total (out of 27 bands competing) awarded, along with first place in Class AA and additional recognition for Outstanding Drum Majors and Outstanding Color Guard.
On Saturday, the band continued its winning ways in its first-ever appearance under Loy’s baton at the 65th annual Algona (Iowa) Band Day Festival, again receiving the day’s highest rating (80.4 points) out of 27 Iowa and Minnesota bands involved.That total clinched a first-place finish in the festival’s open class for Worthington, and the Trojans received the highest scores of all participating bands in each of the three rated categories (marching and maneuvering execution, musical performance and general effect and showmanship).“We were lucky the weather cooperated and made Saturday much easier for us, plus the crowd in Algona was so responsive and supportive,” said Loy. 
Previously, the Trojan band has taken its Mary Poppins-themed parade show, “Over the Rooftops,” to the Waseca Marching Classic (Sept. 21) and Luverne’s Tri-State Band Festival (Sept. 28). At those sites, the Worthington contingent finished second in its class, and also was named the People’s Choice recipient at Waseca.The band appeared in Worthington’s King Turkey Day parade but, as one of the host bands, was ineligible for awards in that contest.“All season long, the parade judges have been challenging us to reinvent our show, since it’s our second year of doing it,” shared Loy. “It’s not uncommon to repeat a show for two years, and given the investment of time and money involved in mounting a memorable show like this, it really makes sense for us to do it twice.“So we added more visuals and tried to create more anticipation and excitement within it, which also gave returning members some new challenges this fall.”
Loy had 42 freshmen to incorporate in his band this year, which is in part why the group is scoring and performing better as the season progresses.
“It takes a while for them to master many basic marching fundamentals,” Loy explained. “Now that they’ve been at it for a couple of months, they get the idea of what it takes to succeed in this.”Still to come is the Trojans’ fourth consecutive appearance at the Anoka Halloween Parade on Oct. 26, where the band has performed well in past years in what Loy describes as a “tough parade.”A Nov. 7 indoor concert at the WHS gymnasium will mark the official end to the marching band season for Worthington’s high school instrumentalists.The 2013 student band commanders are junior Brianna Kempema and seniors Jeremy Majerus, Alex Purdy and Jaren Solt.“The student section leaders and commanders are collectively realizing and rising up to their leadership roles within the band, and that student leadership is responsible for elevating the band’s performance this weekend,” credited Loy.“The kids were so focused and really helped one another. It was truly a team effort.”