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Tri-State Band Festival is this weekend in Luverne

“Seventy-six trombones led the big parade

With a hundred and ten cornets close at hand.

They were followed by rows and rows of the finest virtuo-

0 Talk about it

Sos, the cream of ev’ry famous band.”

— The Music Man

LUVERNE — For its 63rd consecutive year, the city of Luverne will welcome the sweet sound of music along its downtown Main Street this Saturday, as 25 bands converge on the community for the annual Tri-State Band Festival.

“We’re pretty darn excited,” said Luverne Area Chamber Director Jane Wildung-Lanphere.

One of the big attractions this year, aside from the competing high school bands from Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota, will be the Northern State University marching band from Aberdeen, S.D.

“They’re going to be the guest band in field and parade,” Wildung-Lanphere said.

It has been several years since a college band has performed at the Tri-State Band Festival. Oftentimes they can’t afford to come without compensation.

“It’s a sacrifice on their part to come and perform,” she said. “It’s going to be a good influence on the students.”

The parade will stretch down a five-block-long route from Estey Street to one block east of Blue Mound Avenue. The judges will be located at the intersection of Main and McKenzie, which is also where new bleacher seating will be set up for visitors.

“The Rock County Fair Board is providing the portable bleachers,” Wildung-Lanphere said. “That’s going to be exciting for people who want to come and get a good seat.”

Leading off the parade this year as the grand marshals will be the students, teachers and staff of Luverne Street Music.

The parade has been moved up to a 9:30 a.m. start this year, which will give the six certified judges ample time to judge each band. Of the 25 bands participating in Saturday’s event, 19 will perform in the parade route.

“More and more of the bands do a routine on the street,” Wildung-Lanphere said. “It does make the parade a little longer, but it makes it more enjoyable for the parade-goers.”

Time spaced between each band will allow judges to critique their performance — an important aspect of the band festival. Taken into consideration are music execution, marching and maneuvering execution, general effect (artistry), marching and maneuvering show and patterns; percussion execution and analysis, and color guard.

“The comments the judges make help the band in their performance,” Wildung-Lanphere said, adding that the judges are contracted through Tri-State Judges, an organization founded by a former Luverne band director.

This year’s festival participants includes a good mix of A, 2A, 3A and 4A schools, Wildung-Lanphere said, adding that one — West Lyon High School — will perform Gagnum Style for the parade, and then switch to a Billy Joel tune for the field competition.

Sixteen of the bands will participate in the field competition, which gets under way at 12:30 p.m. on the Cardinal Football Field, 709 N. Kniss Ave. Tri-State Band Festival buttons are sold as admission into the field competition. Proceeds from the button sales, along with generous donations from local businesses, help ensure the Tri-State Band Festival will continue on for another year.

“The festival costs $15,000 to $18,000,” Wildung-Lanphere said. At the same time, it brings thousands of people to town — both band members and spectators.

It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to organize the festival by the 21 members of the festival committee. They have already scheduled a meeting for early October to begin planning next year’s event, Wildung-Lanphere said.

“The band festival committee has worked hard to improve and make changes (to the event),” she said. “They’ve never lost site for what the purpose is — it’s an educational experience for the students.

“The committee has always held fast to when it began in 1951 — they wanted to make sure it was an excellent experience for the students,” she added.

Lorna Bryan, administrative assistant at the Luverne Chamber, also gets accolades from Wildung-Lanphere.

“The details of this competition would not get done if it were not for her,” she said, adding that Bryan has helped organize the event for the past 15 years.

With the Luverne Middle School and Luverne High School serving as host bands for Saturday’s events, other bands represented include Adrian, Murray County Central, Pipestone Area, Stewartville, Tracy Area and Worthington in Minnesota; Baltic, Brandon Valley, Brookings, Garretson, Lennox, Madison, Mitchell, O’Gorman, Parkston, Sioux Falls Roosevelt, West Central and Yankton in South Dakota; and Boyden-Hull, Sibley-Ocheyedan and West Lyon in Iowa.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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